The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown and social distancing measures led to new challenges and requirements that the HARMONY project wishes to address.
This particularly applies in Trikala, Greece, where a drone delivery service will take medicine from the city centre to several pharmacies in the surrounding rural areas. This will primarily serve the needs of older people and other vulnerable social groups who have limited mobility and/or access to transport services.
COVID-19 and social distancing have exacerbated the need for such groups to access urgent medication via a ‘remote’ process. In this way, the pilot will improve the everyday life of many citizens, whilst also decreasing delivery costs and time (there is less congestion in the air) and enabling compliance with social distancing and (potential) travel restrictions.
In the short-term, the team in Trikala is working with several authorities to gain the required approvals and permits for the pilot. In addition, the team is starting to collect the opinions, requirements and experiences of citizens and involved actors needed to co-create the service. In the longer term, this sort of collaboration will also be the approach used for evaluation. Ultimately, the hope is that the pilot in Trikala will become a permanent service that can be implemented by and throughout the city.
Through such measures, HARMONY is contributing to the development of an urban air mobility ecosystem that in turn can help create new jobs and investment opportunities in other local ecosystems in Greece and worldwide.
Authors: Odisseas Raptis, Dr Elena Patatouka, George Gorgogetas and Xristina Karaberi
Editor: Annarita Leserri
Authors: Odisseas Raptis, Dr Elena Patatouka, George Gorgogetas, Xristina Karaberi