Airspace Link, a provider of digital drone safety infrastructure in Detroit, reports it has completed a successful 10-day flight operation showcasing a real-world drone transportation program for the movement of critical medical items — the first of its kinds in southeast Michigan.
Using a Michigan Mobility Funding Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s (MEDC) Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, Airspace Link brought together Baltimore drone operator MissionGO, Beaumont Health, and metro Detroit community leaders to execute Michigan’s first real-world package deliver operations via an uncrewed aircraft system (UAS).
Airspace Link led the project, providing the digital infrastructure and data services required to enable the safe planning and execution of scalable drone delivery and logistics services in Michigan through their proprietary AirHub platform.
The platform was used to perform the initial community assessments, including air and ground data analysis, to understand optimal routes and use cases to identify ideal partners as first movers on the network.
“Participation with the city, county, and state will assist in driving successful end results, including economic growth and new, sustainable mobility options for residents and businesses over time,” says Michael Healander, co-founder and CEO of Airspace Link. “We’re currently deployed in over ten communities throughout the state of Michigan and look forward to continuing to work together to propel Michigan forward as a leader in drone innovation.”
The data collected from the 10 days of operations include a transportation impact analysis along with an assessment of the opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and vehicle miles traveled as drone delivery operations scale.
Ultimately, the data will be used to inform a model that the state of Michigan can use to help understand the tremendous impact that drones can have on the environment, the economy and improved patient outcomes for health care providers when integrated at scale. The model can then be applied to any location in the state.
“This 10-day operation was just phase one of what is promising to be an incredibly innovative future for southeast Michigan and for UAS package deliveries as a whole,” says Scott Plank, co-founder and executive chairman of MissionGO.
The final report and analysis are intended to help companies and communities across Michigan and beyond better understand the viability and impact of safely integrating drone operations in their current workflows, enabling the environmental, economic, and societal benefits to be realized sooner.
“Drones offer the benefit of expedited, on-demand, and contactless delivery. We are optimistic that drones could help us serve our patients,” says Melanie Fisher, vice president of supply chain operations for Beaumont Health.