Rolling-out a national on-demand cargo UAS service in Sierra Leone

by Sara de la Rosa, UAS Specialist, Public-Private Sector Partnerships consultant



What drives you?
I am largely driven by innovative projects that have a genuine social good goal. Unmanned technologies have conquered my heart since 2008 via my participation in polar expeditions during my earlier days as a climate researcher. I then focused on Unmanned Aircraft consulting services since 2012, across a range of application areas, including aerial surveillance and security, infrastructure inspections, cartography and surveying to, now my most recent passion, air cargo and logistics of high value commodities and perishables.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
I’ll be presenting a new market opportunity for UAS industry, logistics service providers and corporate investors to become involved with or financially support.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
With regards to trends: I believe that the key to successful operations will be via the provision of multi-modal on-demand services, allowing an easy switch between air, land and/or sea transport modes, to bridge last mile delivery challenges that are often unforeseen, yet recurrent enough to allow being pre-planned for.

With regards to technologies supporting such services, there is a need for new sturdy, easily deployable and low maintenance infrastructure solutions that allow automated electric recharge or refueling in remote areas that are often off the urban power grids.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
Improving cargo logistics service levels, availability and accessibility of pharmaceutical commodities and healthcare services, has a tremendous social and livelihood impact. It is a much needed challenge to be solved that probably every country in the world is confronted with, in some form, be it in urban, semi-urban or rural contexts.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
One large challenge in the public health arena, is the availability of sustained funding to scale operations after initial roll-out. There are a number of donor foundations and country Governments willing to support creating new funding mechanisms for supporting programs to grow and reach more maturity. However, the joint support of public sector and corporate CSR programs is greatly needed to make this scalability of UAS-based public health logistics services a reality.

Unmanned Cargo Aircraft Conference takes place on September 10-11, 2019, at Greenville Convention Center, Greenville, North Carolina, USA. For more information about the complete program, speaker profiles and registration, visit:

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