Swoop Aero has become the first drone logistics company globally to operate a fleet of aircraft from outside the country of operation. This capability was deployed in order to support the Malawian national government’s health system as they commence their response to the current pandemic.

With the backing of the College of Medicine  and the Malawian Department of Civil Aviation, the ground operations teams, staffed by local Malawians that have been trained over the last few months, made this possible. There were no members of the Australian flight operations team present, as they have all returned to Australia to comply with the government’s strict travel restrictions.

The goal of this remotely piloted operation is to support the government’s COVID-19 response following reports of an acceleration of reported cases across the country. It means that  local Malawian ground operations teams are not losing their jobs at a difficult time for the economy. In addition, at a time when normality has been suspended for most, this means that routine flight operations can be continued, delivering essential healthcare supplies for pre-existing communicable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB.

The Swoop Aero Control Platform remains the primary interface for the coordination, management and automation of the physical aircraft. In addition to piloting the flights, the software also manages the coordinated efforts of local Malawian team members and Australian staff to conduct flights safely, in accordance with industry regulatory standards.

The Control Platform ensures that all flights can be safely piloted from anywhere in the world to ensure the aircraft safely follows the correct flight route, with speed, precision and reliability, and thus, reaches the specified location on time to deliver essential supplies. Furthermore, this system gives Swoop Aero team members an ‘eye in the sky’, an Air Traffic Management platform, to oversee the local airspace and manage multiple flights at any one time, in order to safely achieve the best possible outcomes for the health system.

Why is this necessary? Africa’s vulnerability to infectious diseases

There is “real fear that health systems become swamped and unable to manage their ongoing health care, thereby presenting an even greater threat than the virus”.

Trudie Lang, Director of the Global Health Network at Oxford University

The significance of this pandemic is increased by the challenges faced by the global health system to cope with a new disease outbreak. Malawi is identified within the geographical region termed the “disease hot spot belt”. As identified by Trudie Lang, Director of the Global Health Network at Oxford University, there is “real fear that health systems become swamped and unable to manage their ongoing health care, thereby presenting an even greater threat than the virus”.

The continuation of the Swoop Aero air transportation service to assist the government and alleviate some of this burden, has allowed routine and emergency measures to remain in place. The intention is to scale up the size of the drone network to facilitate more flights per day. Each flight undertaken carries a cargo payload of 3kgs, which represents between eight and ten COVID-19 testing kits per flight which are able to be delivered easily into a remote village, without risk of infection. The integration of COVID-19 tests and samples, alongside our continued medical commodity transportation services, helps to strengthen the local health supply chain effectively during a period of increased demand for the health sector and associated resources.

Source: Press Release

UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf https://www.uasvision.com/2020/03/30/worlds-first-internationally-piloted-drone-delivery/, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert. Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache.