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Customer story: Swoop Aero

Swoop Aero’s aeromedical logistics is transforming access to healthcare and delivering life-saving vaccines


Industry 4.0 - Vaccine delivery with the first autonomous two-way air transport network

It all began in 2017 when Swoop Aero were asked whether they could transport chemotherapy medication in regional Australia. They answered yes; but then took the question a step further and asked: “How can we design a system to deliver essential medical supplies by air, safely, reliably, and cost-effectively, every day of the week?”

In 2018, they deployed the world’s first autonomous two-way air transport network in Vanuatu. That year, Baby Joy became the first child in the world to be vaccinated with a vaccine delivered by drone under a commercial contract, thanks to a Swoop Aero aircraft delivery.

“With 50% of the world’s population lacking access to basic healthcare, there is a real need to reach places that ground transport can’t - safely, reliably, and sustainably,” said Eric Peck, Chief Executive Officer, Swoop Aero. “We are enabling on-demand healthcare by deploying aeromedical logistics networks to reduce critical journey times, maximize healthcare budgets, and minimize pharmaceutical waste while proving it’s possible to transform access to basic healthcare.”

Enabling on-demand healthcare

Since then, Swoop Aero have built scalable networks in some of the hardest places in the world to reach. They are enabling on-demand healthcare by deploying aeromedical logistics networks to access places that ground transport can’t, safely, reliably, and sustainably. The UN, USAID and UKAid among others, have partnered with Swoop Aero to transform health supply chains around the world, from Vanuatu to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Malawi, and in Mozambique.

Current healthcare delivery and pathology sample transportation services across rural and urban areas rely on conventional aircraft fleets and on-the-ground vehicle delivery services, which require high-cost asset purchases and a lot of time from an expensive labor force. These costs lead to a rise in the number of emergency trips taken to hospitals, the overcrowding of district health facilities, and ultimately, an increase in the rate of preventable illness and death, which is currently evidenced across the globe.

Pharmaceutical Logistics

Many pharmaceutical products are condition-specific and have a short shelf-life. The current methods employed by pharmaceutical companies to store and transport these products are inefficient and costly; stockpiles are kept large to accommodate anticipated demand from remote communities leading to significant waste costs associated with unused, expired products. In addition, pharmaceutical companies are required to invest in multiple and costly storage facilities to house these products to overcome geographical distance and product condition specifications.

Reduced critical journey times measured in minutes – not hours

Aeromedical drone logistics reduce critical journey times and provides the capability to deliver healthcare within windows that are measured in minutes – not hours. Patients and providers are assured in real time where their delivery is and the expected time to delivery. Healthcare workers are empowered to deliver better care and focus on their jobs without worrying about supplies.

End-to-end aeromedical logistics management

Swoop Aero’s eco-friendly fleet can be entirely solar or electric battery powered. The easy to use, end-to-end aeromedical logistics management system, from order to delivery, operates on a single platform. Designed in their studio based in Melbourne, Australia, the aircraft are 3D printed, enabling them to incorporate specific project and customer needs. The u‑blox ZED-F9P high precision GNSS module delivers centimeter-level global positioning accuracy - critical to the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft and transport networks facilitated by vertical take-off and landing (VTOL).

The last kilometer or mile by autonomous aircraft

What was once delivered in a van, by foot, on a bike, donkey, or camel, will now be delivered by autonomous aircraft. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Swoop Aero has been working with healthcare authorities in several countries to develop aeromedical logistic networks, deployable within 72 hours, to deliver Covid-19 vaccine to remote, inaccessible regions of the world.