Swiss Post and drone maker Matternet have announced that drone delivery services between hospitals in southern Switzerland recommenced on January 27 following improvements to the drone solution.
The drones, which transported lab samples between hospitals, were grounded in May 2019 following a parachute malfunction which saw the drone crash near a children’s playground. This was the second incident to occur in 2019.
While operations were grounded, Swiss Post and Matternet worked together to improve the safety of the drones. Measures implemented included reinforcing the parachute ropes with metal braiding and increasing the volume of a whistle that alerts people to the drone’s presence. Matternet has also improved the drones’ flight system to increase stability and robustness in windy conditions.
Swiss Post also set up an independent board of experienced aviation specialists to examine operations and safety processes. “We certify that Swiss Post and Matternet maintain high safety standards and a high level of safety awareness. The processes that were examined were at a high standard even before the incidents. There are no reasons why flight operations should not be resumed,” said Prof. Michel Guillaume, head of the Centre for Aviation at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and a member of the expert board.
The board has also advised Swiss Post and Matternet to establish an independent oversight body by the end of March 2020 to monitor safety-related processes.