Australia’s Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) has authorised Swoop Aero’s drone logistics centre. The company’s Remote Operations Centre (ROC) now allows the company to remotely pilot up to five aircraft across three continents beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS).
Swoop Aero expects to have approved BVLOS drone logistics in Queensland and Victoria by the end of 2022. Pilots will be able to undertake routine and emergency transportation of essential health supplies and marine ecology and surf rescue management, says the company press release.
Announced at the AWS Summit 2022 in Sydney, the CASA-approved ROC will permit Swoop Aero to operate like an international airliner, centralising resources in one facility for visibility and network operations efficiency globally. Over the coming months, the ROC can allow Swoop Aero to scale up operations with much higher ratios of remote pilots to remotely piloted aircraft, specifically, 30 aircraft to one pilot.
To seamlessly scale Swoop Aero’s services globally, the company’s ROC architecture uses Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company. Using AWS, Swoop Aero established application programming interfaces (APIs) with air traffic control and unmanned traffic management (UTM) systems, helping the company’s drones deconflict with each other, other drones, as well as manned aircraft in the vicinity.
Swoop Aero’s use of AWS also assisted its operations across Africa, specifically in Malawi. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Swoop Aero became the first organisation to remotely pilot an aircraft from Australia to support the continued delivery of health supplies in Malawi in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Population and NGO partner, VillageReach.
Safety remains the principal concern for Swoop Aero and its partners. The accuracy and autonomy of Swoop Aero’s platform are enhanced through the integration of several AWS machine learning services. These include Amazon SageMaker, Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth, and Amazon Mechanical Turk, for model training, data labelling, and crowdsourcing, respectively.
Swoop Aero will continue to use the ROC as an educational resource to train and upskill new pilots globally. This training initiative includes working with organisations like the African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) to recruit and train new crew members to scale up network operations across Malawi progressively, DR Congo, Mozambique, Namibia, and Sierra Leone.
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