The Amazon is home to thousands of local indigenous communities spread across very remote areas. As a result, these sparsely populated communities rarely have reliable access to essential medicines and public health services. For example, local doctors in the region report an average of 45 snakebites per month and no rapid access to antivenom. We recently traveled to the rain-forest to learn more about these challenges, and to explore whether cargo drones (UAVs) could realistically be used to overcome some of them in a sustainable manner. We’re excited to share that our cargo drone flights in the Amazon were a big success!
This unique and successful pilot project was a big team effort including our Peru Flying Labs Coordinator Juan Bergelund, UAV del Peru, and the Peruvian Ministry of Health, along with some of Peru’s leading public health experts. We carried out both day and night autonomous flights between local health hub Contamana and the remote village of Pampa Hermosa around 40 kilometers away. The drones delivered life-saving antivenom as well as blood samples. The flights took around 35 minutes compared to traditional riverboat transportation, which can take up to 6 hours.
We have already been asked by multiple local authorities in the region to carry out additional flights in coming months. These flights will test the aerial delivery of medical supplies across 100+ kilometers. A detailed review of our recent flight tests will be released in early January along with high definition pictures and videos. Our Peru Flying Labs will also be working on this Zika reduction project in Peru using cargo drones. For media inquiries, please contact Dr. Patrick Meier (patrick@werobotics) and Juan Bergelund (juan@werobotics). Ministry of Health officials and other partners are also available for interviews.
In the meantime, we wish to sincerely thank all our outstanding partners and colleagues in Peru for their invaluable support and partnership over the past two weeks. We are very excited to continue our good work together in coming months and years.
The mission of WeRobotics is to scale the positive impact of social good projects through the use of appropriate robotics solutions. We do this by creating robotics labs (Flying Labs) that transfer professional skills and robotics solutions locally. We have Flying Labs in Asia (Nepal), Africa (Tanzania), and South America (Peru). WeRobotics is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, which enabled the recent project in the Amazon rain-forest with our Peru Flying Labs.