Changing lives and making a difference has become the number one aim for Australian global company, Swoop Aero.
But it was one question that changed the path for founders Eric Peck and Josh Tepper. “Could you use a drone to transport chemotherapy medication to regional Australia?”
The answer was yes, but it wasn’t a common application for a drone. It’s only now that drones are being put in the spotlight to help save lives.
The team set about creating the system and raising venture capital.
Eric Peck, the CEO and Co-Founder of Swoop Aero, has come a long way from his beginning where he trained as a fast-jet pilot in the military, but got air sick so transferred and trained as a Hercules pilot instead. After tours in the Middle East, he completed an MBA and began his career in management, working for Deloitte, before meeting co-founder Josh, whose specialty was robotics.
Prior to founding Swoop Aero, Josh was a Mechatronics Engineer for leading robotics, automation and aerospace manufacturing firms, managing multi-million dollar projects. He holds a remote pilot licence, and is an internationally regarded drone racing pilot, reaching the position of world number 16.
It was this experience that helped them to build the drone system that would replicate a Hercules plane.
After speaking with other health professionals, Eric and Josh found one major and common problem.
“We found the way the critical medical supplies are moved at the moment is really broken and it doesn’t support everyone in a fair manner. We saw an opportunity to leverage a system that had been built from the ground up. It was safe, reliable for the healthcare system and cost-effective so people could still get access to healthcare and the Medicare rebate effectively,” says Eric, on our recent Drones For Good podcast episode.
That’s how Swoop Aero was born.
From there the company grew as UNICEF Vanuatu became interested in releasing medical drone delivery, a world first, which fitted with the ethos of the new company.
They bid on the tender and won it – and the rest, as they say, is history.
“We won two contracts that provide drone transport of vaccines and other medical supplies across eight islands in Vanuatu. And that was the first ever competitive tender for drone delivery in the world. We have won every competitive tender in the world since then,” says Eric.
“It’s something we are really driven by and it’s the impact we are having on the ground, because we can allow people to receive medical supplies within a day.”
It’s that drive and mission that’s having an impact on the 100 million people around the world who are pushed into poverty because they don’t have access to medicine, or the 3 billion people on earth who don’t have the same medical and healthcare access as we do in Australia.
And it has led to work in other countries.
Swoop Aero has been to the Democratic Republic of Congo, working with the government to overcome the healthcare challenges there.
“We have also taken over all UAV operations of the USA global health supply project in Malawi to expand out to additional sites. We will also be expanding our work into Mozambique to do tuberculosis sample pickups to help eradicate TB globally,” he says.
Drones can help with the time delay of medical attention. Eric says there are people in Australia, only 1-2 hours outside capital cities, who can only get a blood test two days a week because it’s not cost-effective to pick up the samples.
Drones make this process quicker and the Swoop Aero drones and systems can safely fly up to 100km.
5 fast facts about how Swoop Aero helps with medical aid:
- Set up in the major health hub in the region to distribute supplies and picking up samples.
- Work with and train local healthcare staff on the ground.
- They have three separate communication links to talk to the aircraft: mobile internet, sat com and direct link.
- The aircrafts use accurate GPS and computer vision to make it safe to land.
- The drone will speak to the operator in their local language.
Swoop Global is having an impact on the world with their innovative technology and there is a clear need for their offering. To hear the full story, listen to the podcast episode here.
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The drone programs we design for clients are built to stand the test of time – even in an ever-changing industry like unmanned systems. Our focus is always on solving our client’s problems in an efficient and effective way and our creative solutions draw from years of UAV experience and industry knowledge. To learn more about what we have to offer, view our services here.
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