Swoop Aero to launch drone delivery of lab samples from Aussie islands

Swoop Aero drone lab

International logistics and drone delivery company Swoop Aero is launching a new service in its home market with aerial transport of lab samples from the Moreton Bay islands off Australia’s east coast city Brisbane.

After a prolonged burst of expansion abroad – notably through medical drone delivery projects in several African nations – Swoop Aero says its new domestic plans involve flying lab samples from Moreton Bay clinics to mainland testing labs operated by partner Mater Pathology. Air transport of those materials – which will include blood specimens and COVID-19 swabs – is expected to cut up to six hours off time required by ferry and road vehicles.

Drone deliveries from the Moreton Bay islands Stradbroke, Russell, Macleay aims to speed analysis of samples, and thereby permit physicians to order necessary treatment quicker. 

ReadSwoop Aero gets okay in Oz for global remote drone pilot center 

The innovation will oversee transport of more than 80,000 lab specimens of island residents, including patients of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service. Also covered by the program will be Gold Coast islands of Redlands and Hope.

Mater Pathology general director Deb Hornsby says introduction of Swoop Aero drones in delivering samples from island labs creates an aerial bridge in the local transport system that can replace the relatively slow ferry leg at a time when recourse to all sorts of medical tests has surged.

“With the huge increase in testing caused by COVID, there was a pressing need to speed up our collection services – and that’s when we approached Swoop Aero,” Hornsby said. “Drones are safe, reliable, and so much faster than ferries and cars – which means we save valuable time in diagnosing and treating vulnerable patients.”

While Swoop Aero has generated most of its recent business headlines from its swiftly expanding international drone activity, the Moreton Bay islands delivery project is far from its first in Australia. Indeed, the initiative will build from experience the company has gained operating medical logistics services and beyond visual line of sight flights to the Queensland town of Goondiwindi, which was battered by flooding and other extreme weather conditions last year.

Read: Oz’s Swoop Aero and UK Skyports to broaden drone delivery network in Europe, Americas 

Swoop Aero plans to deploy its cutting-edge Kite drones in the Moreton Bay delivery service, which will use low-altitude flightpaths approved by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Kite UAVs are designed to fly distances of over 108 miles on a single charge while carrying 10 lb. of payload. 

“We have a big vision for Queensland,” Eric Peck, Swoop Aero’s CEO said. “By leveraging the most advanced technology-based platform on the market, Swoop Aero will unlock the skies to enable Mater to drive forward the next era of pathology transportation.”

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