Drone tech startup Aerologix has teamed up with Clean Up Australia Day to make a positive impact on the ground, from in the air.

As they have every year for more than three decades, hundreds of thousands of volunteers took to parks, beaches and river systems on Sunday to remove rubbish from pristine natural environments for Clean Up Australia Day.

But this year, for the first time, they also took to the skies thanks to a partnership with Australian drone technology startup Aerologix.

The company’s network of pilots were deployed across the Northern Beaches of Sydney taking aerial footage along the coastline collecting images and videos to geolocate rubbish.

These hidden pockets of rubbish were then mapped so clean up groups could optimise their collecting efforts.

Aerologix Founder and CEO, Tom Caska said working with Clean Up Australia Day was something he’d been working toward since he started the company in 2019.

“I live on the Northern Beaches and am passionate about keeping our community clean.  With our huge network of more than 10,000 pilots I’m thrilled to be kicking off the partnership in my own back yard, and helping to bring the community together for a common cause, with a view to expanding for next year’s Clean Up Australia Day,” he said.

“Using innovative technology for positive change is one of our mottos and I can’t think of a better application for doing that. One of the things that excites us most is using new technology in a new way to help the environment and help clean the planet up.”

Clean Up Australia is the nation’s largest community-based environmental event, in operation for 33 years.

Since Ian Kiernan first set out to clean up Sydney Harbour in January 1990, more than 20 million Australians have donated their time to the nation’s largest community-based environmental event.

Clean Up Australia’s CEO Jenny Geddes said the organisation was thrilled to be partnering with an innovative Australian company to make Clean Up Australia more effective than ever.

“We’re excited to be partnering with Aerologix to obtain access to never before seen areas of rubbish from the sky,” she said.

“This will give our Clean Up Australia teams the ability to clear problem areas that would otherwise remain out of sight.”

Innovation key to Australia’s waste challenge

As Australia’s waste challenges increase, so too does the need to support new innovative solutions, with aerial technology able to capture pockets of garbage that would be difficult to locate on foot.

The nation produces 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, equating to 100kg per person. Of this, only 13% of plastic is recovered and 84% is sent to landfill.

Tom Caska believes innovation like drone fleets will be essential to future clean up efforts.

“This is the start of a really exciting partnership. We know how big a difference technology stands to make in aerial surveillance, especially across such a vast country like Australia,” he said.

“To see drones improving efficiencies and allowing volunteers to clean up problem areas they may never have found is extremely rewarding and shows the potential for more innovation in this space.”

Volunteers collected literal tons of waste from around Australia’s cities and towns, with the help of drone tech from Aerologix. Pic: Supplied.

Uber for drones

Aerologix was co-founded in 2019 by ex-airline pilot Tom Caska and former technology consultant Rakesh Routhu who met while undertaking their MBAs.

Dubbed the “Uber for drones”, the platform connects drone pilots with enterprises or individuals that need drone imaging.

The company works across the real estate, architecture, agriculture, construction and solar industries and counts Nokia, the Royal Flying Doctor Service

The platform has seen enormous growth in the last 12 months with its network across Australia doubling to more than 20,000 pilots.

It completed a $4.2 million funding round last year led by Ellerston Capital and Lindsay Phillips’ Nightingale Partners with the fresh capital used to invest in additional research and development, bolster the company’s commercial team and support its push further into the renewable energy sector.

Aerologix was recently onboarded into the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) “digital sky platform”, allowing pilots to utilise its Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) network providing access to RPA-related advisories, rules and regulatory information, weather updates and location-based information with easy to use maps showing where pilots can and can’t fly.

It is the first Australian drone tech company with both iOS and Android apps approved and integrated with the CASA digital sky platform.

In full flight

It was a busy week elsewhere in the world of drones, with UAVs taking centre stage at the military focussed Avalon Airshow.

Amongst a raft of next generation military hardware was BAE Systems Australia’s ‘lethal drone’. The armed UAV is capable of carrying a potentially deadly payload of well over 100 kilograms and is heralded as the next step in modern air warfare.

Outside military implementations, leading Australian drone manufacturer and solutions provider, Carbonix, has obtained BVLoS approval in Riverstone, Greater Sydney, using its Australian built VTOL/fixed wing aircraft in the 25 kg category.

The approval from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is one of the first given to a long range aerial data capture aircraft, paving the way for Carbonix to complete BVLOS testing and missions with sophisticated payloads including surveying LiDar scanners and photogrammetry cameras.

Similarly, Australian listed global leading connectivity company, Elsight (ASX:ELS), is starting trials in the futuristic Israel National Drone Initiative, which has the goal of flying heavy cargo and passengers to reduce road congestion.

This article was developed in collaboration with Areologix, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.