Sunday, September 19, 2021

Swoop Aero joins the Airspace Integration Trials Programme

The latest industry partner joining the Airspace Integration Trials Programme will improve access to healthcare for communities across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Swoop Aero joining the Airspace Integration Trials Programme enables MBIE and Swoop Aero to work together to integrate advanced aerial technology in the unique New Zealand environment. Since its establishment in 2017, Swoop Aero has undertaken over 7,250 operational flights to deliver temperature-controlled critical supplies, including vaccines, COVID-19 and HIV tests, pathology samples and anti-venom doses, across seven countries and three continents.

Swoop Aero’s Kookaburra aircraft is an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) system that can carry a 3 kg payload up to 130 km on a single charge. Uncrewed aircraft like the Kookaburra overcome the limitations of vast distances, inhospitable terrain, traffic congestion, location accessibility and data shortages, enabling swift and secure delivery of urgent supplies. They bridge transport and infrastructure gaps that currently limit access to both urban and rural communities, and can assist in the response to natural disasters such as earthquakes, severe weather events and epidemics.

“We are looking forward to working with New Zealand health providers to transform how their essential supplies are moving and drive toward a future where supply chains bring emotional and economic prosperity to all they serve,” says Swoop Aero co-founder and CEO Eric Peck

The Airspace Integration Trials Programme is led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Innovative Partnerships programme, supporting uncrewed aircraft to integrate into the existing transport system and enabling businesses to test and develop advanced aerospace technologies in New Zealand.

MBIE and Swoop Aero will work together to develop a multi-year programme to fully integrate their advanced uncrewed aircraft technology in New Zealand. This will involve determining route plans, certification plans, regulatory requirements, and linking up with other businesses. Swoop Aero will work with stakeholders including within the aviation sector to ensure the effective and safe integration of their drone operations and the broader community to ensure a social licence to operate.

“Uncrewed aircraft technology can greatly enhance our communities and lives but there are still a number of technical challenges to address before we can safely integrate these vehicles into our everyday lives,” says Dr Peter Crabtree, General Manager Science, Innovation and International, MBIE. “Our industry partners will help us to develop a thriving, innovative and safe advanced aviation sector by working with us through these technical challenges. New Zealand is the ideal location to test drones and other advanced aerospace technologies.”

Swoop Aero joins existing industry partners Wisk New Zealand, Kea Aerospace, Envico Technologies and Aeronavics in the Airspace Integration Programme.