Brazilian drone delivery company makes South American history

SÃO PAULO – Brazilian drone delivery company, Speedbird Aero has made history by becoming the first South American drone delivery organisation to get an official licence for an experimental pilot to use drones to deliver food around the city of Sao Paulo.

Speedbird Aero develops and operates drones for air transportation and delivery of products and medicines in South America. 

The drone company announced that it had partnered South American food delivery company, iFood, on a pilot project for on-demand food delivery service that combines drone delivery with other forms of last-mile transportation, including motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, and e-bikes.

Scheduled to start in October, the delivery process will start with drones collecting food from the Iguatemi Campinas shopping complex where it is prepared, to an iFood delivery hub about 400metres away; and from this hub road transport will then take over. It is exactly the same approach Uber has taken for its drone deliveries in the USA, and each delivery route will take the drones approximately two minutes to fly.

The second delivery route is a bit farther – about 1.5 km away – and will see the drone flying beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight.  This phase will enable a broader distribution footprint and is expected to begin by December, 2020.

Last year, Speedbird started the certification process for the first remotely piloted multirotor aircraft in Brazil, with the regulating authority, the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), seeking to satisfy itself that the drones would fly safely over buildings and other public areas, including testing the drones’ autonomous parachute recovery system, which are provided by Speedbird’s partner, ParaZero.

“Our goal is to continue the development of unmanned aerial logistics in Brazil and Latin America with safety in mind,” says Samuel Salomão, Speedbird Aero’s co-founder. “All of these steps are part of a process that will culminate into a commercial product.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned a golden opportunity for drone delivery all over the world, with companies like Zipline and Wingcoper grabbing it and using their drones to deliver much needed emergency medical supplies and COVID-19 equipment to a number of countries in Africa.

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