HARMONY drone pilot comes to a close in Trikala

HARMONY project promotional card with project title and a photo of a drone.

Image by HARMONY

The drone pilot taking place in Trikala, Greece within the scope of the HARMONY project has come to a close.

The pilot was an enlightening experience for the project, since it shed a light on the many challenges that must be addressed in order to safely and effectively utilise drones for medical and other deliveries.

One such challenge was the risk of drones entering residential areas. Experiencing this challenge made organisers realise that flight path safety and flight permit insurance from the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authorities (HCAA) must always be taken into account.  A member from the HCAA was always present during the tests to ensure flight safety. Additionally, with the supervision and cooperation of the local government bodies, all the necessary roads and areas were evacuated for safety. 

Each flight was conducted from the GISEMI Hub to the three destinations Leptokarya, Mikro Kefalobryso and Megalo Kefalobryso. Prior to take off, the operational team performed all the necessary pre-fight checks. The flight path was planned and uploaded to the autopilot. Each drone flight , including take-off and landing, were performed automatically. Upon reception of the cargo at the three destinations, the drone returned to the GISEMI HUB in autopilot.

During this pilot period, organisers recognised that in case the need for a flight permit would be permanent, permanent spaces for landing and take-off outside residential areas must also be created. To improve radio communication and line-of-sight (LOS), a set of digital and physical infrastructure would be needed as well.

With the pilot now complete, the drone flights conducted reached a total distance of 170km, with a total flight duration of 632 min (10.5h). The average speed was 10 meters per second. No further flights are scheduled.

The data and results collected during the pilot will be used to enrich the current policy tools of the Municipality of Trikala in the direction of evidence-based policy making. The Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan is to be updated and include the air dimension in a more mature way than in the initial phase. Urgent situations or vulnerable social groups could be served by urban air mobility systems and services in the future. 




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