WeRobotics and Flying Labs have been leading operational cargo drone projects since 2016.
We’ve delivered medicines and blood samples in the Amazon Rainforest with BD; Delivered essential medicines to remote clinics in the Dominican Republic with Pfizer; Collected TB samples from remote clinics in Nepal with BNMT; Run cargo drone training and demos with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and Cameroon Flying Labs will be collecting patient samples for Polio testing with the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO). Also, we’ve worked on cargo drone projects with partners in Brazil to reduce Zika, in Fiji to reduce Dengue and in Tanzania to reduce malaria. We also offer this affordable, locally-repairable cargo drone for short-range deliveries (pictured below). This is the same drone used operationally by Flying Labs in the Dominican Republic, Fiji, Nepal, and soon the Philippines. Lastly, we offer a comprehensive, peer-reviewed professional online course on cargo drones for medical delivery.
So why offer this new training? Simple: there is an increasing demand from Flying Labs and others worldwide for dedicated technical training on how to operate a cargo drone. But not just any type of cargo drone. Most commercially available cargo drones continue to be prohibitively expensive for rural deliveries. Prices for small cargo drones typically start around US $40,000, although some drones cost as much as US $75,000 per unit. What’s more, commercially available cargo drone platforms are rarely locally owned and often challenging to repair locally, thus creating dependency on foreign experts. This explains why WeRobotics repurposed the DJI Matrice 600 (M600) Pro industrial drone into a fully functioning cargo drone for short-range deliveries.
The M600, which is priced around US $5,000, is one of the most reliable and mature industrial drones on the market, widely used in several dozen countries for aerial inspections and mapping. By creating a dedicated cargo drone add-on for the M600, WeRobotics has repurposed this very reliable drone into an affordable, locally owned, locally operable, and locally repairable cargo drone. Naturally, the M600 cargo drone can still be used for aerial inspections, mapping, etc. This gives users the ability to operate a single drone for multiple applications: cargo drone on one day, and high-resolution mapping surveys the next, for example.
The development and extensive testing of the M600 cargo drone took two years. The comprehensive field tests took place in Switzerland, Nepal, Fiji, and the Dominican Republic. Local pilots in these countries completed well over 300 fully autonomous cargo drone flights in 2019 alone, carrying various medicines, patient samples, and even temperature-controlled mosquitos.
Participants who take this cargo drone training on the M600 platform will learn everything they need to know to turn their M600 into a cargo drone. We’ll go through all the hardware and software modifications, and explain our custom-built cargo add-on piece-by-piece. Please see the video below and the syllabus for an overview of the key topics covered. WeRobotics signs certificates of completion.
To learn more about this new course, watch the video above and visit the course website here!