The Jerusalem Post
Drones being tested for home deliveries in Hadera
The National Drone Initiative conducted its second set of tests this week, including flights over houses and above residents in and around Hadera, as it moves forward with its mission to create a national drone network.
The project, which first began testing flights over urban areas in January, will be running eight pilot tests over the coming two years, in which tens of thousands of sorties will take place in the skies above Hadera.
The National Drone Initiative is working towards creating a national network of air corridors for UAV deliveries of medicine, medical examinations and equipment, eCommerce and more.
The initiative, which originated via a collaboration between the Israel Innovation Authority, the Transportation Ministry (through the Ayalon Highways Company), the Civil Aviation Authority, and the Smart Transportation Authority, is conducting a series of increasingly more complicated technological missions with the aim of building the experience and know-how to deploy a centrally-organized drone network.
The first demonstration took place in March, when five groups of companies operated about 20 drones, flying more than 2,000 sorties in the skies high above Hadera, conducted under one unified command and control system operated from the Ayalon Highways aerial control center.
The drones flew about 300 sorties a day over open areas, with each drone simulating one of a range of tasks: food deliveries, transport of medicine and medical equipment as well as agricultural services.
That demonstration achieved numerous goals, including establishing proof of concept for the plan as well as cementing Israel’s position as one of the most advanced pilot sites in the world in this field.
In the second phase carried out this week, flights are being carried out over residential neighborhoods Hadera, taking off from key points in the city near businesses and public institutions.
Being tested are end-to-end drone deliveries – from the moment the order is placed via an app – up to and including the delivery of the goods to the end customer.
All flights are autonomously managed and prioritized by the Ayalon Highways air traffic control center, preparing for a situation where dozens or even hundreds of drones can fly through the skies of various cities throughout the country on various missions, operating in uniform airspace.
“Managing a smart aerial space with multiple drones flying simultaneously over the heart of the city of Hadera, controlled from the Savidor metropolitan traffic control center in Tel Aviv, demonstrates the technological feasibility of operating multiple drones right from the moment that customers order goods all the way to home delivery of those goods,” said Itamar Ben-Meir, CEO of Ayalon Highways.
During the recent military campaign in Gaza, the drone initiative also provided the Home Front Command with real-time visual information to help document and monitor sites where rockets fell, as well as report violent incidents and legal violations on the ground.