Packages delivered within hours?
A hot pizza left at home by a drone?
We have been talking about it for several years, but this type of freight transport is, according to specialists from the Normandy Drones Innovation Center (CIDN) created at the end of 2020 by Normandie Aerospace (NAE), in its infancy.
For one simple reason: “Flights over people are prohibited.
To develop the sector, it would be necessary to write regulations and develop more reliable devices, ”explains Samuel Cutullic, head of technological research at NAE.
But, as in the automotive world, prototypes and experiments give birth to the daily life of tomorrow.
So, with Abot, the unit dedicated to professional and industrial applications of Rouen's leader in drones Studio Sport, a program is currently being launched around the transport of drugs and blood samples for the Rouen University Hospital (Seine-Maritime).
Weight and reliability need to be improved
The goal is to replace road transport - to go faster, avoid traffic jams and pollute less - between the different sites of the hospital center, sometimes 5 to 10 km away.
For that, it is not enough to take off!
In addition to being able to pull a certain weight off the ground and guarantee the waterproofing of the packaging, “drones must be made more reliable and as safe as an airliner.
It is necessary to provide additional securing systems and to have a guarantee on the components.
There, everything has to be built with the manufacturers, ”says Samuel Cutullic.
Le Havre, capital of experimental drones
Then, to get from point A to point B, “you have to define routes.
There, we look with the metropolis Rouen Normandie, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) and the prefecture for air corridors, specific passages, by flying over the Seine or the metro and bus corridors, for example.
Here again, everything has to be written, ”adds the specialist.
Last important element according to the engineer and, certainly, the future customers: "you have to find a balance between cost and use".
First flight in the second half of 2021
Test flights were carried out in the field.
In addition, “the departmental fire and rescue service (SDIS) used the same model for taking measurements of the air quality in Rouen, in particular near Lubrizol, which show that we do not is not far from the required reliability ”, explains Julie Gueville, manager at Abot.
The goal is to make the first city flight in the second half of 2021.
In the Loiret, drones to map and make a diagnosis
“The big question will always be the safety and detection of other drones.
We really need to write a European regulation for tracing.
For this, we must pool resources and this is the role of the CIDN.
There is a lot of research around this and every day we move forward, ”says Samuel Cutullic.