Swiss startup Jedsy and Dr. Risch begin medical Drone delivery of laboratory samples.

Image courtesy Jedsy

The Dr. Risch laboratory group is beginning a pilot project for the transport of laboratory samples by drone, together with the start-up Jedsy. This makes the transport of samples faster and more environmentally friendly. A world innovation is being used: a unique drone that can dock at the window. The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) has already approved the first flight route from the laboratory in Vaduz to the laboratory in Buchs SG.

Around 50 courier drivers work for Dr. Risch every day, throughout Switzerland. They bring medical samples to the regional laboratories within a few hours. “The last two years during the Covid pandemic have shown convincingly how important this service is for the healthcare sector. If, however, the courier vehicles are stuck in traffic or if they are driving during rush hour, the planned daily routine regarding the analysis and the medical diagnosis is delayed,” explains Dr. med. Martin Risch, CEO of the Dr. Risch group. Together with the start-up Jedsy, the Dr. Risch group has therefore initiated a pilot project in which the samples are flown to the laboratory by drone. “We hope that this will allow us to offer an even better service, which will ultimately benefit the patients”, Risch emphasises. The first route between the laboratory locations Buchs SG and Vaduz has now been approved by the FOCA.

Unique drone with its first successes

The start-up Jedsy has developed a completely new type of drone that can dock outside the window or balcony. The loading and unloading of the drone then only takes a few seconds and can take place in any weather, conveniently from the window. The docking station also charges the drone’s battery, so that the aircraft is ready for use at any time and is in the air within 60 seconds. Jedsy has designed the so-called glider to be considerably quieter than well-known multicopters. All systems are redundant and therefore designed to be fail-safe. Jedsy and Dr. Risch attach great value to privacy: The operator follows the drone’s flight via livestream, but as soon as it approaches the building, the surroundings become blurred, with the exception of the docking station.

“With the new drone, we have already gained important flying experience in Malawi, where over 5,000 flights have been performed as part of the UNICEF drone corridor”, explains Herbert Weirather, CEO of Jedsy. “Health centres have already been supplied with critical medicines by Jedsy and the service is being expanded continuously”.

Transport drones are part of the future

Drone transport is not new in Switzerland, but has met with several large challenges in the past. Some large transport companies have already carried out test flights, but the projects were usually discontinued. Three people were often involved in each flight: one person each for the start and the landing, as well as the operator. There were also complex checklists and packages, which often increased the preparation time to more than 20 minutes. With the new drone from Jedsy, these challenges belong to the past. Recently published legislation from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which will also soon apply in Switzerland, also complicated matters. Via the new specification, aviation companies like Jedsy can completely certify their package delivery drones. In this way, the entire healthcare sector could be supplied more quickly and more cost-effectively by drone deliveries from as early as 2024.

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