U.K.-based Martek Marine has been selected by UNICEF and the government of Vanuatu, an archipelago nation in the South Pacific, to demonstrate how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can carry out vaccine delivery.
According to the company, Vanuatu comprises 83 islands (65 of which are inhabited) separated over 1,600 kilometers. The nation faces considerable logistics challenges when it comes to delivering vaccines due to the climate, topography and lack of infrastructure.
The trial aims to assess technologies that can help reduce the vaccine supply-chain disruption and enhance service delivery – without requiring a massive investment. It will also provide the opportunity to explore and understand the wider application and potential of UAVs in the region over the long term, says Martek.
Martek will self-fund the trial, which will take place on Efate Island on Aug. 21-25.
“The opportunity to deploy our unique capabilities for the good of the people of Vanuatu was an opportunity we had to grasp,” states Paul Luen, CEO of Martek. “Our proven [beyond visual line of sight] expertise and the manned aviation standards which we operate our business to make us an ideal long-term delivery partner. We’re certain we’ll deliver UNICEF and the Vanuatu government a reliable UAS cargo delivery service to enable long-term deployment at a national level.”