Avy enters long term partnership with Fundashon Mariadal

Avy forms long term partnership with Fundashon Mariadal to support their ambition of increasing wellbeing, while supporting economic and knowledge growth on Bonaire with an autonomous drone network.

Fundashon and Avy collaboration VTOL drone healthcare logistics in Bonaire

Bringing sustainable innovation to Bonaire

Situated in the Caribbean, Bonaire is part of the Dutch ABC Islands, together with Aruba and Curaçao. Due to their small size and relative remoteness, the ABC islands can face certain challenges like being threatened by pollution, coastal development and growth in tourism activities. With the aim to mitigate these challenges, Bonaire perceives itself as a progressive Caribbean island and wants to differentiate itself from others by becoming a leader in the preservation of its natural assets and resources. Also known as the Blue Destination, its strategy to protect Bonaire is by maintaining synergy between man and nature, while always having sustainability in mind.

We want to raise awareness in the field of sustainability, for the benefit of our nature, economic development and the preservation of our heritage and culture. A culture that has always lived with and from the ocean.
Bonaire Blue Destination Principles
Bonaire blue destination principles
Bonaire Blue Destination Principles

Bonaire also acknowledges that collaboration between Aruba and Curacao is also very important to tackle the challenges they are all facing. Especially in healthcare, the ability to learn from each other and share technologies as well as success stories can benefit everyone in the long run. For this specific reason last June, the Dutch Caribbean Hospital Alliance was formed.

With Blue Destination DNA in their blood and seeing the need to futureproof the island, Fundashon Mariadal (FM), the largest health care institution on Bonaire responsible for acute, short and long term care, diagnostics and medicines provisions, have been pioneering innovative solutions for the healthcare sector on the island for years.

Seeing the opportunity to step into a “sustainable energy generation”, FM joined strategic forces with Bonaire International Airport, Water & Energy Company and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Waterways to develop a “2025 innovation & sustainability strategy around Aviation, Energy and Healthcare and position Bonaire as an innovation “Living Lab” and part of the Blue Destination strategy. Its main objective is to increase wellbeing and supporting economic (knowledge) growth on Bonaire.

They reached out to Avy with the ambition to launch drones services on Bonaire. The conversations started with a strong interest in drones for medical logistics. Though it quickly became clear that there needed to have more beneficiaries on the island in order to build a business case, push the drone agenda forward while creating social acceptance. FM being a partner of STINAPA (National Parks Bonaire Foundation), an NGO commissioned by the island government to manage the two protected areas of Bonaire, the logical choice was to take into account nature conservation for a use case. We all share the same vision that nature should be recognised and treasured, and value sustainable development.

Goals from this partnership

  • Develop new innovative services through the implementation of different use cases targeted at healthcare and nature conservation, while in alignment with the Bonaire Blue Destination principles
  • Ensure safe and reliable operations following Dutch aviation regulations
  • Innovate aviation through the use of electric drones
  • Long term development and connection between ABC islands

With the right goals in mind, unfortunately the one challenge left is the regulatory. Drones are currently not allowed on Bonaire. However, with the strong ties FM has with the aviation authorities, the goal of this long-term commitment is to start the process now and ensure there is social acceptance on the island around the use of drones for once the regulatory framework is in place.

Developing drone networks on the ABC islands

The vision of this project is to connect the ABC islands with an autonomous drone network for the different use cases at hand. It will first be implemented on Bonaire to determine a viable business case, test the technology in local conditions and explore the most suitable routes for such a network. This will be done in a phased approach as the regulatory framework is not in place yet and to allow some time for sensitisation to take place and ensure acceptance from the Bonaire community.

Keeping people and planet in mind, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) will guide our impact reporting throughout all the phases. Avy is committed to ensure that our products and projects maximise positive impact for society on good health and wellbeing, resilient and inclusive infrastructure & innovation, and climate action. We acknowledge that no product alone can make a difference without the right support of stakeholders with a shared vision. We therefore only form partnerships with those that also focus on the need to drive the same impact and improve the quality of life, such as FM.

The joint roadmap for FM and Avy towards 2025 consists of 4 phases:

Phase 0: Scoping

The Avy team will scope the area and ensure that all stakeholders are aligned. The goal in this phase is to help push the agenda to get drone regulation in place so we can move ahead with the rest of the project. Multidisciplinary stakeholder engagement with the community and more importantly, the regulators will be key during this phase to demonstrate the purpose to all stakeholders and ensure they understand the benefits behind the project.

Bonaire is currently completely designated as a no-fly zone for drones. The project with Avy functions as a catalyst to look with a new fresh look, at the environmental impact on these zones and determine if re-alignment of the historic no-fly zones on Bonaire are possible.
Felix Greving, roadmap coordinator Advanced Air Mobility.

Phase 1: Feasibility testing

The flights in this phase have a multi-purpose. First, it’s to test the various scenarios; nature conservation, livestock monitoring and urgent medical logistics, to demonstrate the capabilities of the drone and gain knowledge on how operations can be shaped for the future. For this, the drone will be equipped with both a camera and medical payload.

Phase 2: Drones serving multiple economic user-cases

Training with the Avy technology will be done during this phase to establish with FM an innovative local team to be an independent operator. Performing flights for various user cases is the next step to build the overall business case and evaluate the impact that can be made.

Phase 3: Connecting ABC islands with drone networks

Once impact proven, the goal is to move towards drone networks for multiple user cases, by connecting the ABC islands by 2025 for the Dutch Caribbean Hospital Alliance. This will be done with the Avy docking stations that will be placed strategically, extending range and making autonomous drone operations possible for scheduled and emergency medical healthcare logistics between the islands 24/7.

Fundashon Mariadal advanced medical air mobility strategy 2025 with Avy between the ABC healthcare facilities. Is based on Avy’s past years of growth and experience of healthcare logistics in the Netherlands. And now develop from a Bonaire living lab setting, with Fundashon Mariadal, a fully integrated hospital drone process as extension of our daily healthcare services.
Felix Greving, roadmap coordinator Advanced Air Mobility.