We’re delighted to announce that the cargo drone company Avy is now a formal technology partner of WeRobotics and Flying Labs. There are many good reasons to be partnering with Avy. Flying Labs in 25+ countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America are increasingly engaged in the use of cargo drones. Cargo drone projects are the result of rising demand for these solutions across the public health sector and beyond. The cargo drones solution developed by Avy will enable Flying Labs to expand the range of services they can offer in the future. To be sure, their platforms provide the kind of safety, range, and payload capacity that will appeal to a more significant number of partners across the Flying Labs network.
The fact that Avy shares our commitment to localization and our other core values is central to our partnership. They aim to help enable the transition towards sustainable aviation. Avy develops wing drones for life-saving applications such as medical deliveries, first response, and wildlife conservation. The autonomous “Avy Aera” is a VTOL wing drone with a modular payload bay, making it suitable for a wide range of applications such as transporting medical goods under strict conditions. The aircraft is tailored to access hard-to-reach places without the need for infrastructure and making urgent healthcare accessible in remote areas.
Avy became BVLOS compliant to the EU drone regulations and certified from the Dutch CAA in 2019. They achieved compliance by proving that operations have mitigated the risks through redundancy and fail-safe measures integrated into the aircraft design, ensuring reliability and safety when performing BVLOS flights in European airspace. The Avy Aera can cover a range of more than 100km, with a flight time of over 60 minutes, and carrying a payload of 2kg.
Avy became the technological partner and drone manufacturer for the Medical Drone Service, a consortium between ANWB MAA (trauma & ambulance helicopter association of the Netherlands), PostNL (Dutch postal service), their healthcare partners Sanquin (Dutch blood bank) and Erasmus MC (hospital & pharmacy), and KPN as the technological partner supplying 5G. Together they will investigate how the Avy wing drone can be a solution for medical deliveries in Europe.
Avy also participated in the African Drone Forum 2020 and was one of the Lake Kivu Challenge finalists. Taking part in the emergency delivery competition, Avy’s mission was to perform a BVLOS flight of 40km and safely deliver an emergency package weighing 1kg, and without a battery swap at the drop-off location. Avy Aera successfully flew to Island Bugarura in 14:51 mins and safely flew back to the mainland in 11:55 mins.
Flying Labs are not new to cargo drones. They have been engaged in cargo drone projects since 2016. Peru Flying Labs, for example, has delivered medicines and blood samples in the Amazon Rainforest with BD; Nepal Flying Labs collected TB samples from remote clinics in Pyuthan with BNMT; Papua New Guinea Flying Labs ran cargo drone demos with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and Cameroon Flying Labs will soon be collecting patient samples for Polio testing with the CDC and World Health Organization. Also, we have worked on cargo drone projects with our partners in Brazil to reduce Zika and in Fiji to reduce Dengue. Last but not least, we offer a professional online course on the use of cargo drones for medical delivery. Participants who complete the course receive a certificate signed by MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, and WeRobotics.
We plan to announce several select cargo drone partners in 2020. These partnerships are crucial to providing Flying Labs with the opportunity to select from a range of cargo solutions for their joint public health projects. This diversity in solutions is already true for mapping drones, given our formal partnerships with DJI, senseFly, and Parrot. As such, we expect to bring on three cargo drone partners this year who share our core values and commitment to The Power of Local.