Open call for drone-as-a-service pilot programme – using drones to support emergency medical services

Artikkelikuva: Open call for drone-as-a-service pilot programme –  using drones to support emergency medical services

We are looking for a solution to an imaginary emergency situation where an automatic defibrillator is delivered by air. The call for tenders ends on Sunday 20 June 2021.

The rapid growth in unmanned aviation may change the logistics of cities and organisations, also in the healthcare sector. The latest technology has introduced the opportunity to develop support operations performed by air. At their best, they allow the patient to receive treatment faster and improve the survival rate of patients in emergencies. For example, international research has shown that delivering a defibrillator by air with a drone may accelerate the start of the life-saving measures significantly.

In autumn 2021, Forum Virium Helsinki is starting a pilot related to the use of drones in emergency care. The pilot is a part of the Carbon Neutral Drone Service Solutions in Southern Finland project funded by the ERDF. For its part, it responds to the need of reducing urban traffic running on combustion engines, and it improves the business opportunities related to drones, which are more energy-efficient than other modes of transport. The project strengthens and increases interest in more extensive opportunities for drone services.

Subject of the call for tenders

The call for tenders focuses on drone-as-a-service pilots that advance solutions to support emergency medical services through unmanned aircraft.

We are looking for a solution to an imaginary emergency situation where an automatic defibrillator is delivered by air to a location that does not have one or that is difficult or slow to access. The aim of this pilot is to find out if a drone could help deliver aid in an emergency.

The drone must fly from point A to point B carrying an AED defibrillator and landing safely next to the patient and the person helping them. Potential routes include travelling from Suomenlinna to Vallisaari or Vasikkasaari, for instance, but Forum Virium Helsinki reserves the right to decide the final route(s). The tenderer may propose a specific route in their tender. A list of registered defibrillators in Finland is available at An example of a defibrillator suitable for this pilot can be found here.

Through the pilot, we aim to reach an overview of the opportunities and challenges related to defibrillator deliveries in an urban environment.

The call for tenders and submitting a tender

Forum Virium Helsinki is currently holding an open call for tenders seeking a drone pilot project to respond to a medical emergency described above. The pilot project will be implemented as a service pilot with a maximum total price of €15,000 (VAT 0%). One or several service providers may be selected through the call for tenders.

Some of the pilot price (20% at the maximum) consists of a report describing how drone flights carrying automatic defibrillators could be integrated into healthcare logistics or the emergency response centre system. The tender may also include a description of the simulated situation, or a solution may be presented as a part of the service where the person aiding the patient is instructed on how to use the defibrillator via a remote connection.

The tender must include the total price of the pilot project, a description of the content of the service, a breakdown of the costs and the equipment with which the pilot project is to be carried out. Forum Virium Helsinki will not commit to paying costs outside of the tender (such as accommodation or travel expenses). The service provider will implement all stages of the pilot project and be responsible for the implementation, costs, insurance and permits related to it. The operator selected for the pilot will be liable for compensating for any damage to themselves or others. For clarity, it is hereby stated that the service price agreed upon in the procurement contract concerning the pilot shall cover the service pilot and its expenses and costs in their entirety, and that Forum Virium Helsinki is not obliged to cover any of the service provider’s invoices, costs or expenses that exceed the agreed upon service price.

The operator(s) selected for the pilot shall be liable for any damage caused to themselves, Forum Virium Helsinki and other third parties in connection with the pilot.

The call for tenders is open to companies and other operators that have a business ID. Tenders for pilot project can also be submitted collectively by two or more operators. The service provider must be a registered drone operator.

The operators selected must provide, upon request, certificates and statements of taxes paid and pension insurance premiums and any necessary insurance policies in accordance with the Act on the Contractor’s Obligations and Liability when Work is Contracted Out.

Potential business secrets must be marked in the tender.

The procurement of the test flight pilot requires that the drone companies providing the service have a safety programme system and prerequisites for safe operations, as well as previous evidence of drone flights. The actors selected for the pilot project must draw up a safety plan for the test flights, taking into account the operation’s level of risk (incl. Specific Operations Risk Assessment, if necessary). The service providers’ prerequisites for safe flight operations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as part of the procurement. The service provider’s insurance must cover the test flights. The service provider selected will also be in charge of applying for and obtaining the permits necessary for the test flights.

During the pilot project, a minimum of 30 flights will be flown, and the duration of the pilot project is 1–2 weeks.

The call for tenders is searching for a pilot project that can be put into practice during the piloting period at a separately agreed time in August–October 2021, but within the limits allowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. If e.g. the Government imposes a curfew that would be in force at the time, the pilot project may be cancelled completely.

Forum Virium Helsinki reserves the right to carry out or authorise a third party to carry out safety, feasibility and impact assessments of the pilot project.

The call for tenders ends on Sunday 20 June 2021 at 23:59 Finnish time. Tenders can be submitted using the form below in either Finnish or English. Applications submitted late will not be taken into consideration.

The call for tenders has now been closed.

This is a pilot project from which we can gain lessons for shared benefit. As such, the data and lessons learned from the pilot project will be shared openly with all interested parties.

Selection and evaluation criteria

The Forum Virium Helsinki expert jury will evaluate the tenders submitted by the deadline.

The pilot projects offered will be evaluated based on the following criteria: 1) novelty and innovativeness, 2) feasibility and 3) impact. Tenders will be scored in accordance with the criteria described below.

Each evaluation criterion is scored on a scale of 0–4 points. The maximum score that a tender can receive is 12 points.


0 p. minimum requirement not met
1 p. minimum requirement met
2 p. requirement met
3 p. requirement met well
4 p. requirement met excellently


Novelty and innovativeness (0–4 p.)

  • The service or product has genuine novelty value and it is innovative.
  • The pilot project brings new kinds of practices, solutions and perspectives on the use of drones in the operating environment of emergency care.
  • The pilot project has the potential to present solutions that can reduce CO2 emissions.
  • The report clearly describes the integration of the drone service into the operating environment of emergency care.

Feasibility (0–4 p.)

  • The tenderer demonstrates that they have sufficient competence and resources to carry out the pilot project. Evidence of previous professional activity and any autonomous flights must be provided with references.
  • The description of measures, timetables and resources shows that the pilot project can be carried out in a high-quality and safe manner, as agreed, and on schedule.

Impact (0–4 p.)

  • The intended impact of the pilot project and the method to verify the impact are described clearly.
  • Scaling the service (or product) can create concrete reductions in CO2 emissions.
  • The solution can be scaled to be applied to other environments and with other partners.
  • The solution offers potential for new business.

The tender or tenders with the best scores will be selected for implementation. Tenders that do not meet the minimum requirement for one or more of the criteria will not be selected for implementation.

The expert jury reserves the right not to select any service provider.

The procurement decision is made based on a separate decision issued by Forum Virium Helsinki. The procurement decision, its grounds and the associated appeal and rectification instructions will be notified in writing to all concerned parties. A contract with the service provider(s) selected for the pilot is only established upon the signing of a separate contract.

Further information

If you have any questions about the call for tenders, please contact (subject line: Drone-as-a-service: using drones to support emergency medical services) by 9 June 2021. The answers will be compiled and published on this page on Friday 11 June 2021.

Answers to the questions

The tenderer can suggest a method where it is either the drone or the defibrillator landing safely on the ground.

The tenderer can suggest a route for the drone and a specific distance for the pilot is not pre-defined. The pilot can be executed in a suitable location near the sites mentioned in the tender. The pilot aims at testing a delivery of a defibrillator on an island, but the flights do not necessarily need to be BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight).

An item of the size and weight of the example given in the tender can be used instead of an actual defibrillator.

The drone flights can be piloted, for instance, on two consecutive days. The most suitable manner for the pilot process will be defined together with the chosen tenderer.

The report can consist of 2-5 pages of description of what a service delivering defibrillators by air could mean as a service as in practice since it is not possible to test the service as a it would be in practice in this pilot. In case the report consists of information that is not public, this information can be considered confidential.

The tenderer can suggest a lower number of flights for the pilot in case it is more feasible taken into consideration the budget and overall aim of the pilot (testing the delivery of a defibrillator). The number of flights is not an evaluation criteria and will be defined once planning the pilot.

FVH will report the pilot in its communication channels. Also, video footage and pictures will be taken from the pilot for communication purposes. The pilot is a part of larger collaboration with relevant stakeholders and other related projects in the field of healthcare and logistics. The results of the pilot will be disseminated in various events and reports of the project.

The chosen tenderer can publish information about the pilot in its own communication channels, but it is recommended that communications will be coordinated with Forum Virium Helsinki.

The ‘Carbon Neutral Drone Service Solutions in Southern Finland’ project is piloting and promoting carbon neutral drone services. At the same time, the project also seeks to develop new business models for the needs of various industries. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Additional information

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