Harmony projects sees first drone delivery for medicines

A woman adjusts a drone with the Harmony logo before take-off.

The HARMONY pilot in Trikala is focusing on urban air mobility systems and services. It consists of a drone delivery service for medicines from the city centre to the pharmacies in the surrounding rural areas, serving primarily the urgent needs of elderly and other vulnerable social groups with limited access to mobility services.

HARMONY will engage stakeholders and citizens to investigate their requirements in terms of urban, suburban and rural mobility, by:

  • Piloting drones for the delivery of medicines from the city centre to the surrounding areas and villages;
  • Collecting data to explore the impact of new mobility technologies and services;
  • Transferring results to the HARMONY Model Suite application to assist the authority to deliver the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP).

Trikala is a city in northwestern Thessaly, Greece. The railway Palaiofarsalos–Kalambaka crosses the region as part of the TEN-T Corridor Orient/East – Med. One main concern is to reduce traffic congestion within the city centre of the city by providing better public connection to the surrounding and rural areas. The drone pilot project started in September and will run for several months. Trikala envisages releasing their SUMP based on the HARMONY results.

In 2020, the local HARMONY partner, e-Trikala, along with scientific support from the University of the Aegean and University College London (UCL), began the setup of the pilot. The first step was to initiate a dialogue with the local stakeholders and the community to discuss the barriers and opportunities of this concept. 

The first flight was carried out in the presence of the Mayor of Trikala, the executives of the Civil Aviation Service, the Association of Pharmacists of Trikala, the drone operator Altus S.A., the sponsor of the drone’s insurance coverage Anytime Interamerican, the company HAM SYSTEMS that sponsored the temperature and humidity sensors in the drone’s container, and e-Trikala. The project coordinator from University College London, as well as representatives from the HARMONY partners University of the Aegean and MobyX were also present.

The pilot test will be followed by the dissemination of results at a European level, as the program is part of the research and innovation programmes of the European Union (Horizon 2020 and CIVITAS). HARMONY will continue to collect quantitative and qualitative data to determine the impact of the drones on the environment, social inclusion and entrepreneurship, as well as their ability to meet the needs of those with limited mobility.

Author: ENIDE SOLUTIONS

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