Malta’s first delivery drone completed its maiden voyage successfully on Friday in what could be an innovative futuristic solution to get urgent deliveries out to remote locations quickly and efficiently. 

The Skymax drone, created with the collaborative efforts of QuAero, Phoenix Wings and Hands On Systems, flew successfully from Ċirkewwa to Comino carrying medical supplies. 

Skymax’s maiden voyage carried a number of COVID-19 swab tests and blood bags.

Weighing some 25kg and with the ability to carry up to 10kg in cargo, the drone can make the trip from Valletta to Victoria, Gozo in about 20 minutes, which could be crucial in delivering life-saving supplies across the channel when time is of the essence. 

It has a range of up to 80km on a single battery charge, though that figure varies according to weather, payload weight and other factors. 

The unmanned aerial vehicle cost €100,000 to construct. 

Video: Chris Sant Fournier

“Our vision is to be able to transport various goods commercially. I honestly believe there are other ways to transport cargo quickly and the air is one of those ways,” said Geoffrey Farrugia of Hands On Solutions, who coordinated the flight on Friday. 

“Malta is the perfect test case, we are three disconnected islands and an urgent delivery could easily mean that lives are at stake. I also think that COVID has helped us understand that we need to be looking at other means of transportation, especially when there was a time we couldn’t always go out to do manual deliveries.”

Farrugia said that the future of the drone could offer commercial business to business solutions. 

Skymax's cargo arrvies in an insulated container. Photo: Chris Sant FournierSkymax's cargo arrvies in an insulated container. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

“We are starting with Malta as a test case but we plan to export the service. We have been approached by other industries for market application such as the oil and gas industry as well as the tourism industry such as the Greek Islands, where there are a lot of resorts,” he said. 

Transport Minister Ian Borg said that transport authorities committed to continuing to expand the legislation and framework around the aviation industry to facilitate the future of the industry.”

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