At the end of August, a new way of transporting pharmacy products to customers will be tested in Helsinki. In a week-long trial, the products of Lauttiksen Apteekki pharmacy, located in Lauttasaari area, will be flown by drone to Jätkäsaari area.
The aim of the pilot is to gather experiences on the suitability of drones for the transport of pharmacy products and to test a new service concept with genuine customers. Electric drones have the potential to reduce emissions of the traditional logistics industry. Other advantages of drones are speed and the ability to make deliveries to locations where there are few services on their own or which are difficult to access, such as islands.
The flights will take place from 24th to 29th of August, 2021. The pharmacy products ordered by the customer are packed in temperature-controlled packaging, which is then flown from Lauttasaari to Saukontori in Jätkäsaari. The deliveries are subject to weather conditions.
The pilot is part of Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab project, which is coordinated by the City of Helsinki and Forum Virium Helsinki. The goal of the project is to help companies pilot new services and technologies in a real urban environment. Forum Virium Helsinki currently has several parallel projects underway to test drone transports. The projects explore, for example, how drones can be used to help with health care needs. The City of Helsinki will receive information from the experiments on how to prepare for the growth of drone operations in urban planning and what kind of role cities will play as an operating environment for unmanned and manned aerial vehicles in the future.
Quick delivery from the pharmacy to the customer
Lauttiksen Apteekki pharmacy sees new possibilities in drone deliveries, as they enable the customer to be reached quickly, at anytime and without the customer having to go to the pharmacy to do business.
“The tasks of pharmacies are becoming more diverse all the time. Preparing for future requirements and staying at the forefront of development require innovation, product development and willingness to try new technologies. In the future, drones flying in the sky could be a quick way to transport, for example, pharmacy e-commerce products directly to customers or urgent orders to nursing homes. In addition to speed, the drone’s significantly lower emissions compared to traditional transport are also significant factor”, says pharmacist Risto Holma from Lauttiksen Apteekki pharmacy.
The pharmacy’s customers can order selected pharmacy products by drone transport from Lauttiksen Apteekki’s online store at e-apteekkari.fi. The products are picked up from the drone landing point at Saukontori in Jätkäsaari. More detailed instructions and pharmacy products within the scope of drone transport can be found in the Lauttiksen Apteekki online store (e-apteekkari.fi). Drugs are not delivered in the pilot.
A dense urban environment, such as Helsinki’s city center, poses its own challenges to drone deliveries. Especially in the performance of flights that are beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). A consortium of Finnish companies, led by Third Space Automation Oy, is responsible for operating the drones. The team has paid special attention to flight safety in the pilot in addition to ensuring the integrity and traceability of the cargo.
“We follow the strictest safety regulations and are a team of highly experienced manned and unmanned aviation experts with decades of experience. We are using a commercial grade drone equipped with the maximum level of safety back up systems”, says Arshia Gratiot, CEO of Third Space Automation.
The delivery pilot of pharmacy products is an opportunity for Third Space Automation to test its drone logistics service. The goal is to be able to deliver medical products to even the most challenging locations.
“We designed the ByDrone distribution system used in the trial as a special delivery network for medical products. In the future, we aim to supply e.g. medicines, blood and vaccines, especially to hard-to-reach places that are otherwise difficult to deliver, ”Gratiot adds.
Drone delivery pilot in Jätkäsaari and Lauttasaari
- Drone deliveries of pharmacy products will be tested between Lauttasaari and Jätkäsaari from 24 August to 29 August, 2021. Drone flights take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- The pilot is carried out by Third Space Automation Oy, FutureSky Oy, Flyby Guys Oy and Pinktape Media in cooperation with Lauttiksen Apteekki.The pilot is part of the Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab project coordinated by the City of Helsinki and Forum Virium Helsinki.
- During the pilot, selected products can be ordered from Lauttiksen Apteekki’s online store (e-apteekkari.fi) to Jätkäsaari by drone. The drone lands in Jätkäsaari at Saukontori, where customers can pick up their order.
- Particular attention has been paid to the safety of the drone flights. The drones are operated by professionals. The necessary permits have been applied as well as required insurances.
- Safe areas in Lauttasaari and Jätkäsaari (Saukontori) have been chosen as the take-off and landing places for the drones.
- ASTM F3322-18 certified parachute solution for the DJI M600-series.
- Shockwatch temperature and impact monitoring adhesive sensors.
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Photo: Vesa Laitinen