Geneva, Switzerland. 31 October 2022 — Following the steps of the first short-range deliveries carried out by La Poste, Swiss drone manufacturer RigiTech has carried out one of the first long-range Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone delivery routes in Switzerland, successfully flying over Lake Geneva to a laboratory in Coppet and back. Both RigiTech’s proprietary software, RigiCloud, and Eiger drone hardware have proven once again to be reliable and compliant with BVLOS SORA regulations. “This flight represents a regulatory milestone and another step towards our expansion in the healthcare sector. Being able to fly in Switzerland, our home country, is especially significant. It marks our fifth European country with BVLOS authorisations, and fourth for the Eiger,” said Adam Klaptocz, co-founder and CEO at RigiTech.
An important milestone for the advancement of the drone delivery industry in Switzerland, this feat was possible thanks to the impeccable coordination with Skyguide and Genève Airport, to create an effective communications channel and to obtain clearance before flights. This milestone was several months in the making, as RigiTech gathered the approval and collaboration from Genève Police, the Cologny Municipality, the Office cantonal de l’agriculture et de la nature (OCAN), and Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA). “We are managing to surpass new obstacles and challenges from our sector. Every new successful authorisation and safe operation is a step forward for the whole industry, which is something we can be proud of,” said Alejandro Del Estal, Head of Operations at RigiTech.
Avoiding high population density on the ground, this challenging route designed over the lake required consideration of necessary protections for local fauna, as well as vigilant attention to ongoing boat traffic on the water. RigiTech’s team proved successful in coordinating the planned flights with information from the Compagnie Générale de Navigation (CGN), before executing this route to connect Geneva and Coppet.
An impressive alignment between Swiss agencies and RigiTech has enabled this operation, demonstrating once more their willingness and forward-thinking mindset to help push this technology and Switzerland into the future. Each one of them playing an important role, have created the conditions to make drone delivery a reality today.
This first intercantonal route over the lake connected Cologny (Geneva) and the rooftop of the laboratory in Coppet (Vaud). Drone logistics between these two points allow for urgent transport of medical goods and supplies – as the Eiger drone can easily carry a payload of up to 3 kg (up to 150 pre-conditioned blood vials)– and saving up to 90 minutes in delivery time when compared to ground transportation during rush hour. Landing on the laboratory rooftop also allowed easy access to the delivered package for the medical staff, and allowed the drone to return to Geneva in less than 10 minutes.