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Xwing Completes World’s First Fully Autonomous Air Cargo Delivery; Brings PPE and School Supplies to the Hard-Hit Navajo Nation

With the highest known rate of coronavirus in the country and a lack of sufficient infrastructure, the Navajo Nation gets relief with tech-enabled delivery


CONCORD, Calif. – WEBWIRE

Xwing, the first company to deploy autonomous software for air cargo planes, today announces it has successfully completed a 730 mile-long cargo delivery trip from Northern California to the Navajo Nation, the largest Indian reservation in the United States, home to more than 300,000 residents. This marks the first and longest autonomous large air cargo delivery in the history of air transportation.  

This represents the first time an air cargo plane has delivered goods, in this case, donation-based goods, via a fully autonomous flight. Onboard the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan was hundreds of pounds of hospital grade-PPE masks and gowns, school supplies, educational tablets for kids, and masks for kids. The aircraft departed from Buchanan Field Airport in Concord, California, and landed at Winslow–Lindbergh Regional Airport. 

With more deaths per capita than any U.S. state, the coronavirus has particularly devastated the Navajo Nation in part due to various compounding issues such as unreliable road infrastructures, unregulated water sources, and a lack of access to basic medical care and supplies. 

In response, Xwing teamed with Protect Native Elders, a volunteer-based inter-tribal organization that offers necessities to Native American communities and Get Us PPE, a doctor-led non-profit that provides PPE to frontline workers. Osmo and USA Envision Us, contributed educational products, tablets and masks.

“The situation is dire for residents of the Navajo Nation,” says Marc Piette, CEO of Xwing. “We do regular flight tests with this autonomous aircraft that has the capacity to deliver meaningful assistance to communities in need. It was a no-brainer to combine these two activities with the assistance of organizations on the ground.” 

Through this initiative, Get Us PPE facilitated a donation of PPE including 2,000 impermeable gowns and face masks that will be deployed to Indian Health Service centers with the aim of providing hundreds of frontline workers with the supplies needed to safely perform their job duties.

“When we talk about donating and delivering PPE to communities in need, we’re talking about saving lives,” says Dr. Shikha Gupta, Director of Development and Communications at Get Us PPE. “As the PPE crisis progresses, it’s increasingly becoming an equity issue. Well resourced facilities are able to source the PPE they need, but under-resourced communities and organizations are still facing serious shortages. Get Us PPE was excited to collaborate with Xwing and Protect Native Elders to get PPE to the Navajo Nation.”

"It takes a village to make a change in the world; it takes a community to uplift those in need. Many indigenous communities have been overlooked for decades as it relates to basic needs such as food, water, health, and infrastructure. We applaud technology innovators such as Xwing for seeking ways to help address these disparities and applying their technology in support of others. Solving such economic and social challenges requires all of us to unite and work together for the betterment of others,” says Bleu Adams, Navajo activist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Protect Native Elders.

In addition, 50 Osmo devices and accompanying Amazon Fire Tablets donated by Osmo will go to schools and community hubs such as STAR School, Rocky Ridge Market, and IndigeHub for kindergarten to fourth-grade students who are faced with learning in an entirely new socially-distant classroom environment. What’s more, many kids are using this advanced technology for the first time having never had access to tablets and learning apps before today. 

“This pandemic has brought into focus the huge digital divide that the Navajo communities we serve are facing. The help that we are receiving directly from Osmo in the form of digital devices and high-quality educational software is so appreciated. Our resource teachers are excited about this gift because the hands-on approach of this software, they believe, will be especially helpful in serving our special education students remotely,” says Mark Sorensen, CEO at The STAR School in Flagstaff, Arizona.   

This delivery was made possible through Xwing’s Autoflight System which retrofits existing aircraft to convert planes into optionally piloted vehicles. Unique to Xwing is its first-of-its-kind onboard flight control systems that allow the aircraft to navigate, take off and land autonomously, and avoid other aircraft, ensuring more cost-effective operations for cargo deliveries.

To support Native American tribes that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 across America, please go to gofundme.com/f/protect-native-elders. To contribute to efforts to get PPE to frontline workers and under-resourced communities, please go to getusppe.org/donate.

About Xwing
Xwing is the first company to introduce autonomous technology for regional air cargo. With the goal of meeting growing unmet logistics demand, Xwing’s human-operated software stack seamlessly integrates with existing aircraft to enable regional pilotless flight. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. To learn more, please visit xwing.com. For media inquiries, email xwing@vsc.co

About Get Us PPE
Get Us PPE gets personal protective equipment (PPE) to the people who need it most, free of charge. Their website serves as a central hub for frontline workers and under-resourced communities to request PPE donations, and for people and organizations to donate funds or PPE to help address these shortages. Get Us PPE then facilitates the delivery of PPE to the people in need. Get Us PPE has received over 16,000 requests for over 21 million units of PPE altogether, just to fulfill a week’s worth of need, and their database is now the largest non-governmental source of PPE shortage data in the country. They have delivered almost 2.5 million units of PPE, but they have only been able to fill 10% of PPE requests they have received. Even now, six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, PPE shortages remain widespread and urgent. Visit www.getusppe.org to learn more, donate, request PPE today.  

About Protect Native Elders 
Protect Native Elders is a national Native-led inter-tribal organization providing rapid support to Native American communities in their response to COVID19. The all-volunteer team is focused on PPE and critical supply relief, advocacy programs, and initiatives to support indigenous sovereignty such as food and water. Since the founding in late March 2020, Protect Native Elders distributed more than $700,000 in supplies to more than 70 tribal communities across the continent. Learn more at protectnativeelders.org.

For press inquiries press@protectnativeelders.org
For partnerships and collaboration inquiries: uplift@protectnativeelders.org

About Osmo
Osmo is building a universe of hands-on play experiences that nourish the minds of children by unleashing the power of imagination. The company brings physical tools into the digital world through augmented reality and its proprietary reflective artificial intelligence.

Founded in 2013 by ex-Google engineers Pramod Sharma and Jerome Scholler, the Osmo Play System fuses digital gameplay and physical interaction to create fun and nutritious play experiences designed for all kids. Its universe spans twelve titles, including Super Studio, Coding Awbie, and Masterpiece, which respectively teach creativity, computer science, and drawing. Join in on the fun at PlayOsmo.com. Osmo is part of BYJU’S - The Learning App.



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