Swiss hospital drones to take off again

Matternet drones grounded after two safety incidents have been given the go-ahead to fly again.

The company had been working with Swiss Post to carry lab samples by drone between hospitals. However, after an emergency landing in Lake Zurich following a GPS hardware error and a crash near a children’s play area after a drone parachute malfunction, the drones were grounded.

After the second incident, Swiss Post asked Matternet to make several changes to its drones:

  • Reinforce parachute ropes with metal braiding;
  • Have two ropes instead of one; and
  • Make a whistle alerting people to its presence louder.

Matternet made the changes, and after an investigation by independent aviation experts, was cleared for drone delivery between hospitals in January 2020.

“We certify that Swiss Post and Matternet maintain high safety standards and a high level of safety awareness,” said Professor Michel Guillaume, head of the Centre for Aviation at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and a member of the expert board. “There are no reasons why flight operations should not be resumed.”

Matternet said, “We’re excited to resume and expand our operations in Switzerland in close partnership with Swiss Post and the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation. Switzerland is known for its high standards of safety and high-quality transportation services.”

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