is upwards

A Drone Ecosystem that works safely for all

6 August 2020

A Drone Ecosystem that works safely for all

“We are witnessing the beginning of a logistics revolution; one that will redefine the way goods and people are moved around the world and one that will drive social change alongside societal impact”.

Timothy Reuter, Head of Drones and Tomorrow’s Airspace, USA

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, as it is commonly referred to, is characterised by the unprecedented speed, scale and scope of technological change. Governments around the world are adapting both national policy and regulations reactively to accommodate these rapid and unfolding transformations of technology-based services within domestic infrastructures. The rise of artificial intelligence and autonomous devices, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, has required governments as well as organisations around the world, seeking to harness this technology, to develop the tools for creative governance, which maintains the safety of the skies whilst enabling the increasing movement of people and goods through a new, effective and innovative means of transportation.

As a pioneer in this Fourth Industrial Revolution period, our team continues to promote and adhere to the highest aviation, regulatory and safety standards in the world. Our service makes access to the skies seamless as we deliver essential health supplies to communities across three continents and five countries, which cover some of the most hard-to-reach areas on earth. Our fleet of aircraft populates the skies, and with so many flights conducted every day across both urban and remote areas, we integrate pivotal safety features into every aspect of the service. Our proprietary flight management platform enables customers, users, and aviation authorities alike to track all flights underway in any geographical location, while also facilitating our team to operate multiple aircraft safely at one time. Our cutting edge technology transforms the way the world moves essential supplies. We do this safely, reliably and cost-effectively.

Safety is designed into every technological process

The rise of autonomous devices within every facet of human activity, has invariably reduced the need for human input, and consequently, the rate of human error in technical and complex processes related to the operation of the service or product. As leaders in the realm of automation and air logistics, we have remained at forefront of best practice and defining safety standards; we have helped develop a culture where technological processes have had to build in a superior grade of safety and redundancy features, which imbues confidence in the system to deliver without hindrance, and with minimal risk. Our team has automated every process of the technological system to enable our service to run seamlessly in any geographical context. From the ground, it’s hard to tell if these processes are working, or are in place at all, but they continuously run in the background to keep our system safe and reliable. From pre-programmed flight routes, automated landing and takeoff, to the process of diverting should the aircraft encounter unexpected externalities whilst mid-flight, these features enable our team members on the ground to concentrate on the oversight and management of the entire service to deliver positive health outcomes. The automation of these processes minimises the potential for human-induced risks, and enables a sustainable, reliable, and safe service to access the air.

Based on the lessons learnt from manned aviation, systematic redundancy is a key feature of our UAS platform; including multiple duplications across our flight control, electrical, and communications systems. This level of system integrity and robustness was designed from day one such that we have no single point of failure across our entire flight management platform. This platform provides both a proprietary customer & ATC facing flight tracking system as well as including integrations with Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems where they exist in a region. The integration of these features has enabled us to build a world-leading system that positions safety above all else, while maintaining reliability and affordability needed to deploy a sustainable drone logistics service. The smooth and reliable operations of our platform daily; as well as our commitment to enhancing safety at every stage of the process, has facilitated a close working relationship with independent civil aviation authorities across the globe. These regulators are the people who assess the safety of the skies and oversee our drone logistics operations at every stage and in any geographical locale. Our open and transparent approach ensures that in the unlikely event a safety incident does occur, regulatory authorities have all the details required to make an independent and informative assessment and thus determine appropriate next steps.

From day one, we have sought to foster a positive and supportive working environment, which reinforces the importance of safety as the foremost concern no matter where we operate, from Melbourne to Malawi. In aviation, this is defined as a just culture, which is prefaced on open, honest and clear communication regarding the operation and management of the technology. In the event of a safety occurrence, a just culture ensures that team members are not afraid to come forward and report any issues, without fear they will be blamed for the occurrence – there is no “I” in ‘team’. We also employ these lessons with our working partners and supporting organisations on the ground. Whilst we remain a separate and independent business entity, we believe that if our partners need the information about a safety occurrence, then we will provide all the information and details required. We are trusted by our global partners for this reason as we seek to enhance a positive, inclusive and safe working environment in every location we operate in.

We are also continuing to expand our partnerships with the leading international UTM providers to facilitate the safe, effective, and efficient integration of our service into controlled airspace, which allows operations over populated areas so we can continue to best serve the communities in which we operate.

Teamwork makes the dream work

As a team, safety is our foremost concern. Priorities can shift and are flexible according to time, position and location, yet safety will always remain the driving force of operations. To ensure our exemplary safety standards are always maintained, we have built a team of passionate and dedicated people both on the ground and ‘figuratively’ in the air to operate and manage the network. All members of the team are required to complete in-depth training modules before operating the network, which has been based on best practice from manned aviation mixed with our extensive unmanned experience. Our focus on education forms part of our dynamic and learning culture, which is synonymous with this rapidly scaling technological era. To support the continued progression of the industry, we have established ourselves as an industry leader, working to continually improve our systems, based on our operational experience, regulator feedback and industry best practice.

When we commence operations in any geographical area, our team members on the ground not only contribute to the safety of the operations but also act to mitigate any perceived risk to local community members. This is through enforcement of crowd control policies to minimize the number of people in the area when the aircraft is expected to land and take off, to charge batteries correctly which ensures the aircraft is ready to be operated at all times and perform life-saving deliveries of essential health commodities. Operations in any part of the world require the support and understanding of the localised health workers, community and local regulators as we implement safety-driven policies. To ensure compliance and understanding, we actively engage the community to educate, inform and sensitise to this new technology.

We are committed to designing, building, and operating the safest drone logistics system of its kind in the world. We were founded to transform the way the world moves essential supplies by making access to the air seamless, and we are focussed on enabling an agile, robust, and resilient global health system.