Downtown VTOL flight delivering COVID-19 samples to a laboratory

June 4, 2020

Auterion Partner Quantum-Systems performs first-ever medical VTOL flight downtown in a large city, delivering COVID-19 samples to a laboratory

<em>The Trinity F90+ drone flying above downtown Munich The 64 km flight took less than 7 minutes<em>

Something special happened in downtown Munich recently. While there weren’t crowds present to mark the occasion, there was a lot to be excited for and we couldn’t be prouder of our partner Quantum-Systems. Using their Trinity F90+ VTOL drone, they delivered COVID-19 test samples from the downtown Munich test center (currently located in Theresienwiese) to a hospital on the outskirts of the city in an astounding 7 minutes. You can’t beat that on the autobahn – this 6.4 km flight would typically take at least one hour by car in normal conditions. 

The first-ever downtown medical cargo flight is a major milestone, demonstrating that long-range cargo drones can be operated safely even in urban sprawling environments. Until this date only multicopter drones have been used for similar operations and even companies like Amazon Prime Air and Google Wing have restricted their operations to less densely populated areas.

There are a lot of reasons why this was an important achievement. In this instance, getting results quickly to identify patients with COVID-19 helps reduce infection rates. The speed between taking samples and receiving the test results is particularly important for critical cases as this enabled health care providers to initiate the correct treatment more quickly.

Quantum-Systems demonstrated with the robotic takeoff and landing platform that contactless delivery is feasible, making drone cargo flights safer than bike messengers or other traditional express services.

<em>The Trinity F90+ drone being loaded with the COVID 19 test samples to be delivered to the specialized hospital for evaluation<em>

As no pilot is required, cargo drones can transport samples at a much higher frequency economically, eliminating the need to wait for a whole batch to be complete before shipping them. This can cut hours out of the turnaround time and helps hospitals to get testing results faster without increasing the transport costs.

VTOL drones are a compelling choice in urban areas, but get even more powerful in rural areas or developing countries with less health care infrastructure. The Quantum-Systems Trinity F90+ is ready to be deployed in harsh environments, does not require special infrastructure to take off or land and can support laboratory sample logistics in developing countries, where no alternatives to cargo drones exist.

For this and other scenarios, the Auterion platform can enable health care providers, delivery companies, and governments to scale their operations to many vehicles and across multiple locations. There is no limit on what drones powered by Auterion can do because our open source platform allows enterprises to customize the drone’s software with their specific applications in mind.

The main advantages of the Auterion platform for advanced cargo and delivery operations are:

  • Auterion brings the internet to commercial drones. Companies can manage missions and monitor flights and fleets remotely from one central location. This makes operations scalable.   
  • Drones powered by Auterion are safe. Flight logs are monitored in real-time by predictive maintenance algorithms so that minor issues can be flagged before they lead to larger problems. This means operators can automatically monitor the health of their fleet at all times, from any location increasing the reliability of the whole fleet.
  • Auterion enables apps on board of drones. Companies can deploy their own software on the mission computer streamlining data integrations into their existing IT and logistics backend.
<em>The visualization of a simulated flight of the COVID 19 sample delivery demonstrates how the Auterion Suite tracks every flight monitors the drones performance and heals in real time so that operators can safely manage missions remotely<em>

The work that Quantum-Systems is doing in Munich right now is impressive. We’re ready to scale and implement these systems in the US. Just a couple of months ago, we announced our partnership with Quantum System to bring the Vector and Scorpion 2-in-1 system to the US market and we’re excited for what’s possible with drones powered by Auterion.

Learn more about Quantum-Systems:
Watch the video of the historic delivery flight: