Orange Belgium’s 5G network is used to ensure that Helicus’ drones are supported by an extremely reliable connection with the ground control, when shipping medical supplies or human samples.
Orange Belgium strongly believes in a relevant use of technology, for the benefit of all, and, since mobility issues represent a major challenge for emergency services, the operator is proud to announce that it has partnered with HAI-SCS on the transportation of medical supplies.
Turning scalable medical drone services into reality (code name: HAI-SCS)
The “HAI-SCS” project stands for “Helicus Aero Initiative - Scheduling, Connectivity and Security”. As the name suggests the HAI ecosystem of domain-leading organisations targets three gaps to enable automated drone services:
- Artificial Intelligence will drive drone fleet Scheduling,
- 5G/4G/radio cascaded Connectivity slices will link all actors
- in an integrated cyber Secure manner
The ecosystem partners are jointly performing R&D activities for a value of 3.6M€ on these three research topics. Launched one year ago, HAI-SCS is on track to deliver its results by December 2021. The project is supported by VIL (Flanders innovation cluster for logistics) and the regional innovation agencies Innoviris (Brussels) and VLAIO (Flanders).
Drones can normally rely on low-bandwidth connections for their operation. However, in case of danger, and especially when carrying a critical payload, an alarm is raised and an immediate video connection with the drone needs to be established. This requires a high-bandwidth connection to transfer the video images to the ground control and/or the hospital, in order to receive and process the payload.
Thanks to Orange Belgium’s unique 5G standalone network, the drones can rely on an extremely high throughput and low latency, with a guaranteed level of quality based upon network slicing.
Werner De Laet, Chief Enterprise, Innovation and Wholesale Officer of Orange Belgium, comments: “We’re delighted to support the Helicus initiative, which demonstrates the real added value of 5G for socially-relevant purposes. It clearly shows how important a reliable network, with guaranteed quality of service and network slicing, can be instrumental in saving human lives.”
Mikael Shamim, CEO Helicus and HAI-SCS project coordinator: “We are jointly building the foundation for automated drone operations that will enable urgent medical deliveries of blood, human tissue and clinical samples, and thus save lives.”
Johan Decuyper, CEO of Belgian Air Navigation Service Provider skeyes, comments: “We see HAI-SCS as a next step in scalable, safe and compliant drone operations that we are co-developing with our partners.”
Prof. Dr. Steven Latré, imec/UA director: “In this project, two of our important research tracks - achieving differentiated Quality of Service using 5G, and low-power machine learning - come together in a very ambitious application domain. An ideal testing ground to further innovate in the domain of AI-driven autonomous drones."
“The development of the civil drone industry depends on the ability of drones to operate safely and reliably in various parts of the airspace”, says Thibaud Jongen, CEO of SABCA. “Complex solutions that lead to highly reliable systems can only be realised with the support of the right partners and research centres.”
Henk Janssen, CEO, Baloise Insurance, notes: “The correct assessment and mitigation of risk will lead to adapted insurance products, which will allow this new and exciting sector to develop to full potential.”
Prof. Dr. Herwig Mannaert, NSX co-founder: “We are excited to leverage Normalized Systems technology for one of the major integration challenges of our time: coordinating logistics, flight scheduling, cyber security and healthcare processes.”
Prof. Dr. Bart Preneel, head of the COSIC research group (KU Leuven/imec), says: “(cyber) secure drone logistical service forms a basic requirement for a viable professional system, based on authentication and encryption of both data and meta data.“
Liesbeth Geysels, Managing Director, VIL: “At VIL, the spearhead cluster for logistics, we are looking for innovation with a long-term strategic societal impact. HAI-SCS constitutes an excellent fit. We are happy to support this project and to help make Flanders the reference when it comes to medical drone transport.”