Last October, it became known the implementation for the first time in Greece, of an integrated pilot project of transporting pharmaceutical and health materials by drone, which lasted 4 months. The program was implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Health, by Nova, a member of the United Group, the leading telecommunications and media provider in Southeast Europe, in collaboration with the Greek company UCANDRONE, which is a member of the EFA GROUP.
The aim of the program was to improve the health services provided in the small inhabited islands of the Aegean. The drone used performed daily scheduled flights departing from Naxos to the nearby micro-islands of Koufonissi, Heraklia and Schinoussa. It also performed emergency flights to meet urgent needs.
In the context of the project, 5G technology was used and artificial intelligence models were developed through gathering data from various sources, while at the same time operational issues were investigated in order to better serve the needs of each island and to have a guaranteed level of service. The program demonstrated significant short-term and long-term benefits to local communities, residents, the national economy, and the environment, as the use of the drone reduces the cost of travel and the corresponding energy footprint, but above all, first aid is offered to residents who have need.
The protagonist of the pilot program was a vertical landing drone of Greek design and assembly, by the company Velos Rotors. This is the VelosV3 with a maximum gross take-off weight of up to 25 kg, which allows for a maximum payload of 16 kg. The drone itself weighs 8.5 kg and carries a battery weighing 4-10 kg, on which the autonomy depends, which can vary from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the weather conditions. The maximum speed that the VelosV3 can develop is 130 h.a.h. and the maximum radius of action from the control station 40 km.
The VelosV3 easily adapts to different missions thanks to a 55cm long rail-type adjustment base under the fuselage with 14 “pillars” per 4cm that carry integrated holes, offering a total of 28 load adjustment points. This gives flexibility of adjustment and allows adjustment of even two different loads at the same time. For example, two small cameras (day and thermal night) can be fitted at the front and another sensor at the back.
One could say that this is a drone similar to an extent, to the A900 of the Spanish company Alpha Unmanned Systems that was procured by the Navy. The vertical take-off (VTOL) feature for a drone of this class, combined with the greater payload capacity compared to small multi-rotor drones, is a very interesting element for meeting requirements including cargo transportation.
Mechanically, the characteristics of the VelosV3 approach military specifications since it is designed with a dual electric motor power system and other critical subsystems also dual (batteries, electronic speed control system, belts, gears).
This feature improves the safety, efficiency and operational reliability of the drone, which is designed to withstand wind, rain, snow. With the addition of encrypted communication, it can evolve into a much more specialized VTOL drone.