Drones are currently being used in regional and remote Australia to improve health outcomes for Indigenous communities. Drones can help to bridge the vast distances between regional centres by delivering important medical supplies to remote communities quickly and efficiently. In the Northern Territory, iMOVE Australia has partnered with the Northern Territory Department of Health and Charles Darwin University's North Australian Centre for Autonomous Systems (NACAS) to trial medical drone flights, based on successful programs in Africa, which have improved health care delivery and reduced costs.
Using drones helps overcome the barriers to delivering critical medications to remote communities. The project team worked closely with stakeholders, including the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the Royal Australian Air Force, and traditional landowners on country to help resolve operational challenges and reach agreement on flight routes.
Swoop Aero is also trailing delivery of medications by drone in Goondiwindi in partnership with Terry White Chemmart. The drone operator is delivering medication to residents within a 40 kilometre radius of the Goondiwindi Aerodrome and paving the way for the future of remotely-piloted deliveries.
This work is also being supported under the Emerging Aviation Technology Partnerships Program (the Program), with a key focus area being ‘to improve health outcomes for remote Indigenous communities’. The Program will support strategic partnerships with industry, using emerging aviation technology to address community needs, particularly in regional Australia.