Lufthansa Technik (Booth H71) has signed contracts with drone manufacturers Matternet and SwissDrones to provide its SafeDrone Health cloud-based service. Similar to the capabilities of a health and usage monitoring system (HUMS) in manned aircraft, SafeDrone Health allows manufacturers and operators to monitor the condition of their drones and provides failure descriptions and maintenance recommendations. SafeDrone Health said its system can reduce maintenance costs by up to 50 percent. “All this helps to reduce operating costs in the long run," said Philipp Baumgarten, technical project lead for SafeDrone.
SafeDrone Health will support Matternet flights in Switzerland and in the U.S. under the Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program initiated by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. "By partnering with Lufthansa Technik, we are taking another step to ensure that every operation we implement around the world utilizes the best-in-class technology to keep everyone involved safe," said Matternet CEO Andreas Raptopoulos. Switzerland’s mail service Swiss Post, cargo carrier Swiss WorldCargo, and drone manufacturer Matternet started testing a small quadcopter for commercial use in 2015. UAS beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) commercial transport operations began in Berne, Switzerland in 2018.
Swiss drone manufacturer SwissDrones specializes in multi-purpose, long endurance, heavy lift civil drones. SwissDrones board member Lukas Obrist said, "Due to the increased operational expectations toward our products in use around the world, the deployment of a professional fleet health and safety management platform has become a key initiative.”
The Lufthansa Group recently named its Lufthansa Technik subsidiary as the drone competence center for the entire group. The MRO is charged with responsibility for strategic matters, portfolio management, and the correlation of all drone activities within the group. It will represent the group's interests at national and international bodies and take part in the development of binding standards for the drone industry.
As part of the restructuring, Lufthansa Aerial Services and SafeDrone by Lufthansa Technik are pooling resources to offer their customers a more comprehensive menu of UAS services. SafeDrone's focus will be on providing technical fleet management and monitoring the condition of drones via SafeDrone Health. Lufthansa Aerial Services is responsible for drone deployments at industrial installations such as wind turbines or electrical power lines. The training opportunities previously offered by SafeDrone and SafeDrone Academy are being continued and further developed by affiliated company Lufthansa Aviation Training. "The realignment of SafeDrone and the integration of Lufthansa Aerial Services' flight operations allow us to combine existing competencies and focus our drone activities on the growing industrial sector,” said SafeDrone project manager Ulrich Hoffmann.