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The deployment tests of drone systems in Trikala

  • Harmony 

The activities in Trikala, Greece, still developing at good pace.  During the latest flights, new challenges have been faced. In this case, the main concern was entering a residential area. In this regard, the experience tells that greatest concerns in these flights routes have been safety and the insurance of flight permits from the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authorities (HCAA).  

In any case, the paths of the flight were discussed and approved and during the flights a member from the HCAA was always present to ensure the flight safety. Additionally, with the supervision and cooperation of the local government bodies all the necessary roads and areas were evacuated for safety. 

The flight was conducted from the GISEMI Hub to the three destinations Leptokarya, Mikro Kefalobryso and Megalo Kefalobryso. Prior to the flights and take off from GISEMI HUB the operational team performed all the necessary Prefight checks. The path to the final destination was  already planned and uploaded to the Autopilot. All the flight paths including take-off and landing were performed automatically. Upon  reception of the cargo the UAV continued the route and landed to the GISEMI HUB in auto mode.

The location of the pharmacies and the morphology of the ground rose a difficulty in the radio communication and the LOS (Line Of Site) from the GISEMI HUB to villages. As risk countermeasure, the pharmacist were informed via an application that is installed in a cellphone, PC or tablet that gives the position of the UAV on the map. This way, the pharmacist was informed at all moments about cargo situation. A training kit was also provided to the pharmacist for approaching and using the drone.

As a result, it has been identified that in case the need for a Flight permit would be permanent, there is a need to create permanent spaces for landing and take-off outside residential areas. For the improvement in radio communication and LOS, a set of digital and physical infrastructure would be needed, as well as aa co-created methodological tool necessary for engaging the stakeholders and conducting the pilot. 

What are the next steps? Is the demonstration officially over or are some flights scheduled in 2022?

On overall figures, the total distance cover is 170km. The total duration of flights is 632 min (10.5h). The average speed is 10m/s. The demonstration is completed, and thus, there are no scheduled flights in 2022. 

How will the data collected and the results obtained in the demonstration be used in HARMONY?

The data collected, and the results obtained are under analysis, and they are to be used to enrich the current policy tools of the Municipality of Trikala in the direction of evidence-based policymaking. 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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