Swoop Aero to trial medical delivery drones in regional Queensland

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Drone company Swoop Aero, in partnership with Australian healthcare wholesaler Symbion and pharmacy retailer TerryWhite Chemmart, has announced plans to begin trialling the delivery of medication using drones.

The trial, which remains subject to regulatory approval, will take place in the Queensland town of Goondiwindi. Swoop Aero’s drone network will deliver medication within a 130-kilometre range of the town from the local TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacy to residents who typically have to travel up to three hours to reach the pharmacy.

“The drone will fly in and out of a central point in Goondiwindi with the flight path fully automated and approved by CASA [Australia’s aviation regulator], 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 CEO Eric Peck said.

The drones will be operated remotely from Swoop Aero’s headquarters in Melbourne. Each drone, according to the company, can reach speeds of up to 115 kilometres per hour and withstand extreme weather conditions including 50 kilometres per hour winds and heavy rain.

Read more: Drones With Facial Recognition Are Primed To Fly—But The World Isn’t Ready Yet

“Our aircraft do not have on board cameras filming in flight, but are instead guided by a three-tiered communications system consisting of mobile internet, satellite communications, and data link,” Peck said.

Symbion CEO Brett Barons said using drones to deliver medication is critical in remote parts of Australia.

“Not only is this a very convenient option for the delivery of medicines for those living outside of ready access to their pharmacy but, as we saw during the terrible bushfires in Australia last summer, there were cases where road access to some homes and towns was completely shut off,” he said.

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Source:  Aimee Chanthadavong

Photo credit: Press


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