Drone-delivery logistics company, Swoop Aero, will begin delivering medicines to remote communities in a first for regional Australia. Working with TerryWhite Chemart and Symbion, Australia’s largest healthcare wholesaler, the social enterprise will drastically reduce the time it takes for medicines to reach remote communities.
The trial will operate out of Goondiwindi, and offer delivery to towns within a range of 130km. It’s hoped drone deliveries will save residents time, as well as delivering vital goods when roads are cut, such as during bush fires or floods.
“Many of my customers live on farms or small towns in outlying areas. In some cases a visit to our pharmacy to collect their vital medicines may mean a three-hour round trip,” TerryWhite Chemmart Goondiwindi pharmacist Lucy Walker said.
The CEO of Swoop Aero, Eric Peck, says they have both the technology and the experience to make it work, with no need for professional technicians at the delivery site.
“The drone will fly in and out of a central point in Goondiwindi with the flight path fully automated and approved by CASA, deliver the customers products, then return to base ready for its next job. After a little training, it is very easy to operate”.
Swoop Aero have come home after successfully proving their drone logistics systems in Africa and the Pacific. They delivered vaccines to Vanuata by drone in 2018, in a world first. And the following year transported Ebola vaccines to the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the project then expanded to Mozambique and Malawi.
Their aircraft, called the Kookaburra, is custom designed and 3D printed. They will be operated remotely from Swoop Aero’s headquarters in Melbourne. The aircraft can reach speeds of up to 115 kilometres per hour and withstand extreme weather conditions, which is important given the fierce storms that the region can face.
The project is being funded by EBOS Group, the parent entity of Symbion, and underlines the company’s commitment to ensuring all Australians can access medicines no matter where they live and whatever their circumstances.