Laboratoires Réunis, Luxembourg Air Ambulance S.A., POST Luxembourg, and Santé Services announce their collaboration in an innovative, state-of-the-art project to explore the opportunity of transporting medical samples by drone.
Drones are an emerging technology with great potential in the healthcare sector, offering healthcare providers new solutions for delivering medical equipment and samples.
In this pioneering, forward-thinking project for the Grand Duchy, the four parties involved will examine the potential of using drones for blood sample deliveries. The main objective is to conduct an in-depth technical feasibility study demonstrating the benefits of this state-of-the-art transport method, which include:
- Increased speed and safety
- Environmentally friendly
- Reduced urban congestion
- Easy monitoring and follow-up
In July 2023, the four partners formed a Luxembourg-based joint venture called GRIFFIN. Since then, the consortium has been actively engaged in selecting the test route and technology to be used.
Following approval by the relevant authorities, the route selected for the test flights will be the delivery route for blood samples between the Robert Schuman Hospitals’ Kirchberg site and the Laboratoires Réunis analysis laboratory in Junglinster.
The drone used will be the Eiger drone from Swiss drone manufacturer Rigitech, with a proven track record in similar projects worldwide. Their expertise in the design and manufacture of state-of-the-art drones guarantees the safe and reliable transport of blood samples. The Eiger drone will fly safely at an altitude of between 80 and 120 meters, reaching speeds in excess of 100 km/h.
The technical assessment of the project has begun in close collaboration with the relevant authorities and will cover issues of technology, logistics and infrastructure, reliability and safety, regulatory compliance, and training. The test flight phase is scheduled for the second half of 2024, subject to approval of the protocols by the relevant authorities.
The four parties involved bring to this innovative pilot project for the Grand Duchy their expertise in each of their fields. The ultimate aim is to translate the theoretical developments of the feasibility study into practical applications.
- Laboratoires Réunis brings its expertise in advanced medical diagnostics and the rigorous management of biological sample transport in compliance with applicable standards. In addition, their strategic contribution to the development of future infrastructures for drone landing and take-off guarantees the integrity and reliability of results within optimized timeframes.
- Luxembourg Air Ambulance S.A. (LAA) will contribute its aviation expertise, assuming responsibility as project manager and spokesperson, certified drone operator, and manager of ground, flight and maintenance operations. In addition, LAA will oversee risk studies, permit applications and regulatory analyses.
- POST Luxembourg brings its expertise in mobile connectivity, in particular its 5G network covering over 96% of Luxembourg territory. Thanks to network slicing, POST’s 5G network can be virtually partitioned to give priority to certain critical segments. In this way, a secure 5G link with superior quality of service guarantees the drone’s connectivity, enabling it to locate itself and communicate in real time with monitoring systems to transmit journey data and object constants, such as the temperature evolution of a blood sample.
- Santé Services S.A.: As a member of the Hôpitaux Robert Schuman (HRS) group, we support innovation at the service of patients and healthcare professionals. Our activities include catering coordination, project management and the implementation of cutting-edge consulting solutions aimed at operational excellence.
“At Laboratoires Réunis, we are firmly committed to supporting innovation projects that strengthen our service to patients. This project represents a great opportunity for us to actively contribute to the development of healthcare services. We are convinced that this initiative marks a significant step forward in our mission to provide high-quality, innovative healthcare.” (Prof. Dr. Bernard Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO, and Dr. Stéphane Tholl, Chief Executive Officer and CEO)
“This initiative to transport medical samples by drone fits perfectly with the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of Luxembourg Air Ambulance, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to implementing cutting-edge healthcare logistics solutions at the optimum service of patients.” (Frank Halmes CEO, Jérôme Pin DCEO)
Cliff Konsbruck, Director of POST Telecom explains: “The use of drones for the delivery of all kinds of objects represents a real potential for development within the various sectors of activity of the POST group. The Griffin project fits in perfectly with POST’s strategy and desire to support and contribute to the development of innovative technological initiatives exploiting the new functionalities brought by 5G in Luxembourg and internationally.”
Marc Glesener, Managing Director of Santé Services S.A. comments: “Supporting innovative projects in the healthcare sector is of crucial importance to Santé Services. The transport of biological samples and medicines by drone is a revolutionary approach that offers a solution to the logistical challenges that sometimes hinder fast, efficient access. What’s more, the use of drones helps to reduce logistics costs and minimize transport-related risks. Encouraging innovation in the healthcare sector enables us to contribute not only to improving the quality of care, but also to anticipating and resolving the changing needs of patients.”
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