Swoop Aero has just received the Product Innovation of the Year award at the annual Australian Business Awards for its drone technology.
Swoop Aero’s Kookaburra drone was introduced by the company back in 2018 with the main objective of cutting down delivery times of important medical supplies, equipment, and vaccines.
The drone has been successful in doing so, cutting down delivery times from two days to just 20 minutes.
Swoop Aero CEO Eric Peck shared:
“Our logistics infrastructure has been trusted by some of the largest players in the global health sector, including UNICEF, the Gates Foundation, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, USAID, and UKAID. Our company is rapidly scaling as we are on track of reaching 100 million people with sustainable drone logistics by 2025.”
The Australian Business Awards followed with:
“The value proposition of Swoop Aero adheres to the 3 pillars of service delivery: safe, reliable, and sustainable air transportation. The innovative design, manufacture, and operationalization of the Swoop Aero aircraft are best demonstrated by the success of flight operations in several countries.”
Australian aeromedical logistics company Swoop Aero has been working in Malawi with its drones delivering medical equipment, samples, and emergency medicine to over 650,000 people in the Nsanje and Chikwawa districts in Southern Malawi.
The drones in Malawi, Africa are currently flown by a team back in Australia with the team on the ground being a full Malawian workforce. Swoop Aero plans on training and employing a local team of 20 to maintain and pilot the drones locally in Malawi.
Back in mid-2019, Swoop Aero began working with the government of DR Congo and VillageReach to begin delivering vaccines to remote villages using drones. 50 flights spanning over 2000 kilometers (~1,200 miles) were able to deliver 25kg of immunization products, medicines, and medical supplies within five days of being operational.
Drone operations in the area were set to expand in March of this year just as COVID was starting to shut down the world. COVID resulted in a travel ban in Australia, including those that work at the Melbourne based Swoop Aero. After months of delay, the team has finally been able to get travel exemptions to head over to DR Congo to resume drone deliveries before the end of October.
Swoop Aero isn’t new to drone medical deliveries. They have been working with remote villages in Africa to deliver blood samples to hospitals, helping with the fight against measles, tuberculosis, and HIV, among other tasks. Since February, the company’s fleet size has doubled to keep up with the previous demand, and it will continue to grow.
Swoop Aero’s drones can complete round trips of around 260 km (162 miles) and can carry up to 10 test kits or up to 50 vials of blood. The drones have a wingspan of 2.4m (nearly 8 feet) and are required to fly below 122m (about 400 feet) to ensure they don’t collide with manned aircraft. The flights cost around AU$10 to $15 (US$6.45 to $9.67), which is significantly cheaper than manned transport over such a large distance.
Photo: Swoop Aero