Drones set for lift off into more critical life-saving roles across Australia

Yoav Amitai, Chief Executive Officer at Elsight

In a boost for the commercial drone industry in Australia, the Federal Govt launched a website to support individuals, businesses and industry adopt emerging aviation tech. The website aims to be Australia’s official and central source on drones and emerging aviation tech, saying “drones will create economic, social and environmental benefits for Australians.”

The website was developed by Dept of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, which says it has committed to developing a range of whole-of-govt initiatives. “Drones are being used in a range of industries across Australia to support greater efficiency, improve responsiveness and increase resilience,” the department says.

What is the drone usage landscape in Australia?

“Drone tech has skyrocketed over the past decade and is now used beyond recreation for a wide range of commercial purposes, including in disaster relief, environmental management and agriculture.” Also announced was an iMOVE study which involves the University of South Australia working with the dept to investigate the benefits of increased drone use in Australia.

iMOVE is Australia’s national centre for transport and mobility R&D which supports the sustainable movement of people and goods using tech and data. The unveiling of the site with information about drone uses and policies follows the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granting its standard Type Certificate (TC) for commercial drone deliveries last month.

This was seen by the industry as a decision that will fast-track more approvals for commercial drone deliveries in Australia given that we often follow the US lead.

With our vast distances, remote communities and vulnerability to natural disasters, and congested cities, Australia has one of the greatest needs for the flexibility drones provide. Use cases range from delivering urgent medical supplies to shark attack victims on hard-to-reach beaches, people affected by natural disasters and road trauma casualties in cities.

Drones have immense potential to improve efficiencies in agriculture, allowing remote controlled planting, livestock management and crop spraying. They can also help monitor environmentally sensitive flora and fauna, and of course deliver everyday items like groceries.

How is Elsight cementing market leadership?

Elsight (ELS) is in pole position to leverage the opportunities in Australia because it already has contracts with US companies DroneUp and Spright. DroneUp has been chosen by Walmart to enable drone delivery of groceries and supplies including COVID-19 test kits.

Spright is a division of North American provider of airborne medical services Air Methods, which supplies emergency services to over 100,000 patients annually. Air Methods set up Spright to help solve some of the health services challenges for communities across the US.

Elsight also has a partnership with Brazilian company Speedbird Aero for the critical task of controlling its drones delivering commercial packages across South America’s largest country.

Halo is a platform developed by Elsight that delivers fast, end-to-end data transmission and to ensure safe continuous flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) – a pivotal advantage in a country like Australia. Elsight CEO Yoav Amitai says the potential for drones to provide a range of services is only just being realised, not just in Australia but across the world.

“The Australian Government’s new website boosts recognition and understanding that drones can improve our lives and benefit a range of industries. It is not a question of if anymore, but a question of when and how fast, and being a major part of it is a great feeling,” Amitai said.