The first woman to operate delivery drones in Brazil

Did you know that it is a woman who operates iFood's delivery drones? Discover the story of pilot Claudia Aguilera, from Speedbird Aero.

Did you know that the operator of the iFood drone is a woman? Claudia Aguilera, unmanned aircraft operator at Speedbird Aero, partner of foodtech In this operation, he has commanded the drones since the first ones took flight on the route to Campinas (SP), where tests began to deliver food using these robots.

The first experiments were carried out in December 2020
. At this stage, the drone operated by Claudia covered, in three minutes, a distance of 400 meters, from the terrace to the iFood Hub at Iguatemi Campinas (which, on foot, would take 12 minutes).

“It was a milestone to be the first woman in Brazil to fly a BVLOS [beyond line of sight] drone delivery flight,” says Claudia. “I love operating the drone: it’s incredible to see the order being delivered to the droneport through the navigation camera. There are exciting moments on every flight.”

To get there, Claudia had a path of great resilience and study — as well as a good nose for opportunities. When he graduated in Technology in Sugar and Alcohol Production from the University of Ribeirão Preto (Unaerp), in 2010, he already had the dream of working with drones — but in agriculture. One day, a new field of activity caught his attention. “I saw something on social media about drone delivery in Brazil. I researched more about it and was enchanted”, he recalls.

After spending 2020 taking Precision Agriculture and drone mapping courses, she began looking for a position in the market. “I made a brief presentation of myself on Speedbird’s Linkedin and asked for an opportunity. I said I would like to be a drone operator. Soon after, I was called for an interview”, he says.

It worked: Claudia was hired by Speedbird Aero in October 2020. Soon after, she joined the team that was in the field operating automated flights in tests carried out with iFood in Campinas and, the following year, in Aracaju (SE) , on the experimental route between the capital and Barra dos Coqueiros.

“My responsibility today, in Aracaju, is to make the operation happen quickly and safely, together with our team on the field. It is an operation that requires a lot of discipline and attention from the moment it leaves the field, where drone and equipment checklists are made”, explains the pilot. “This route is a unique experience: a 2.8 km journey done via drone in five minutes, whereas on land it would take 35 to 55 minutes.”

She comments that the profession of operating drones requires resilience. “You have to enjoy working in the field, with sun, rain, wind, assembling structures. We need to pay attention, know how to read the meteorology and wind measurements to take quick decision-making action.”

For the future, Claudia wants to help iFood and Speedbird Aero implement other drone delivery routes across the country. For women who want to pursue this profession, she has one piece of advice: show your work with competence and consistency. “Don’t give up on your dreams. Dream big and be bold.”

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