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Halo delivers life-saving blood by drone

ASX-listed Elsight has achieved a significant milestone in the delivery of urgent medical supplies with its 'Halo' technology.

In a successful pilot program, drones built by Brazilian company Speedbird Aero used the 'Halo' platform to safely and reliably transport blood from Rambam Medical Center to Galilee Medical Center, in Israel, a distance of 25km.

The trial shows how drones can safely transport life-saving blood across busy urban areas in a solution that could be applied to donated organs as well.

Connection confidence beyond visual line of sight

Elsight’s ‘Halo’ platform delivers fast and secure data transmission and end-to-end connectivity for UAVs, ensuring safe flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS). Backing up its platform, Elsight offers real-time individual support for its customers across the world to ensure a smooth integration of its technology.

Among Elsight’s 80-plus global partners are Speedbird Aero and DroneUp, a US-based company that supports Walmart's drone delivery service. Walmart already has 36 hubs across six states, with plans to reach 4 million homes this year.

Elsight also has a significant commercial partnership with Spright, a subsidiary of Air Methods Corporation, which provides airborne medical services in North America. Spright aims to address some of the most challenging and time-sensitive issues faced by healthcare services in the US, and its eco-friendly drone delivery model can be easily adapted for Australia's rural and remote communities.

Regulations get more aligned with connectivity technology

Spright had a breakthrough in February this year when it received the first-ever beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) waiver from the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) for drone operations involved in critical utility infrastructure surveys.

The waiver is a demonstration of how regulations are now starting to catch up with drone connectivity technology. Australia has traditionally followed the US lead in aviation regulations and this use case for drones is crucially important here because infrastructure inspections are vital for community safety during and after natural disasters.

The Australian Federal Department of Infrastructure granted more discretion to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in late 2021 and CASA has now started streamlining approvals for wide-ranging applications. These include shark surveillance, natural disaster management, remote healthcare, plus urban grocery and fast food delivery.

Elsight is expected to benefit from the easing of regulations for drone operations given its industry-leading position in BVLOS technology.

Halo’ to save and change lives

Elsight CEO Yoav Amitai said it was an exciting time to be involved in the drone delivery sector.

“We’ve only started to see the life-changing, and in some cases life-saving, use cases for drones that can be enabled by regulations coming up to speed with connectivity technology,” Mr Amitai said. “Being part of a company that enabling those major improvements to everyday lives is a great feeling.

He said the company’s Design Win strategy provided in-built scalability so that as its clients grow with easing regulations, so too will Elsight’s repeat orders for the future-proofed Halo.

The platform already includes remote ID capability expected to be mandated by the FAA.

It is also at the forefront of the next disruption in drone delivery by allowing “one-to-many connection”. This enables remote operators to control numerous drones simultaneously and is set to shake up the industry further when regulations allow.

Importantly, Elsight offers real-time individual support for its customers across the globe, as Senior Vice President Commercial Business at Spright Justin Steinke explains:

“One of the things I like most about ‘Halo’ is the team of people who support it,” he says.

“The hardware and the software are really second to none. We’ve seen no other solution that has all the pieces and components that ‘Halo’ does. But each aircraft so far has been very different so being able to integrate this in a way that’s effective and in which the architecture makes sense is a very complex problem to solve.

“The Elsight team has been absolutely fantastic in making sure we have the right support needed to not only integrate ‘Halo’ in the aircraft, but if we ever have any issues or concerns, they’re right there to help us fix those in real time.”

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