Advanced drone developer Quantum-Systems has used one of its eVTOL drones to help deliver Covid-19 tests to a Munich laboratory in less than seven minutes.

Working with Becker & Kollegen, the test involved using Quantum-Systems’ Trinity F90+ drone to transport 20 sample tubes over the 6.4km distance between a mobile Covid-19 test station on the Theresienwiese in Munich to the laboratory in Frührichstraße.

The courier driver who regularly makes the ride between the test station and the laboratory often takes an hour or more to travel by van. He has rarely carried more than 15 urgent test samples and Quantum-Systems says using a drone as a method of transportation is 8-12 times faster, emission-free and noiseless.

Robert Hirt, Chief Digital Officer at Laboratory Becker & Kollegen, said: “As part of our vision of a No-Touch Sample Distribution (NTSD), our initiative with Quantum-Systems makes an important contribution to the discussion on how we can use automation and digital technology to further reduce analog touch points and the associated potential danger to humans.”

“I am concerned about the individual behind each sample and the well-being of the patient in terms of the quality and speed of the findings,” added Marc Becker, M.D of Becker & Kollegen.

“In this particular case, however, it is also about reducing risks for the many people involved in the provision of our laboratory services, such as doctors, courier services and assistants.”

Quantum-Systems already has experience in transporting very sensitive medical payloads by drone, for which further strict requirements must be met.

In South Africa, the company delivers its technology for the BloodWing project of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS). Using a Tron F90+ UAV, it transports blood bags from blood banks to remote hospitals.

To do so, one must comply with the respective legal requirements for the transport of drugs or medicine. For example, the transport box must fulfil certain hygienic and climate demands. In addition, the transport must be secure and completely traceable, access to the box must be possible for authorised persons only.

And in order to further advance the technological innovation in the use of drones for medical purposes, Quantum-Systems is currently participating in the tender for a project funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). Subject of the investigation is how changes in drug logistics can lead to significant cost reductions for hospitals.

It has already been awarded a research contract for another BMVI funding project called ‘FreeRail‘, which involves the automated recording of vegetation near the track and storm damage along Deutsche Bahn’s rail network using the Trinity F90+ drone.

In order to comply with the prescribed road safety obligations, the vegetation along the entire rail network must be inspected, documented and evaluated by qualified personnel at least once a year. At the same time, rail traffic should not be disrupted during inspection.

The Trinity F90+ drone takes off and lands fully automatically from a self-sufficient drone port, which will be permanently stationed close to the railway line. Using a special communication and data processing system, the collected data can be automatically evaluated. The project offers Quantum-Systems the possibility to collect and evaluate experiences with autonomous BVLOS flights under real conditions.

Florian Seibel, Chief Executive Officer at Quantum-Systems, said: “For us, the development of the Drone Port is a logical step towards the automation and digitisation of flight missions. In the end, the drone will transmit information and data for further decision making. With our technology, we deliver this information just in time.”