Dave: Norbert, we may think it’s cool to get our pizza delivered by a drone, but it just pales next to what one company is doing in Africa. These guys are delivering lifesaving medical supplies to remote regions in Africa. Wow.
Norbert: I know! It’s a California robotics firm called Zipline and these drones can zip along at one hundred eighty miles an hour.
One of Zipline’s founders became inspired after a visit to Tanzania where people died because of poor infrastructure. While a courier can deliver blood within minutes in America, only a third of Africans live within a mile of a road that’s open year round. That’s why the Rwandan government partnered with Zipline.
After a text, the drones can deliver blood or medicine within thirty minutes even up to ninety miles away. The drones are loaded and launched from a “nest” base in the city center. First the flight path is loaded onto a SIM card, then the drone flies to the clinic that placed the order and drops the payload using a paper parachute from a low altitude before returning to base.
Its path is tracked using a tablet app and can be altered as needed. Each drone is the size of a large dog and can carry three and a half pounds of blood or medicine, and can make fifty to one hundred fifty deliveries a day. The Zipline drones are incredibly affordable, costing about as much as a motorcycle.
One major challenge for some countries is their unstable governments where the drones could be mistaken for a weapon. But this isn’t stopping a number of developing countries from exploring these lifesaving machines.
For more information…
A Drone to Save the World
Developing countries are skipping over roads and going straight to drones for providing health care.
Drones are Delivering Blood to Hospitals in Rwanda
A faster way to ship life-saving supplies across the country.
Drones Will Begin Delivering Blood and Medicine in the U.S.
After launching in Rwanda, Zipline brings its fleet of medical drones to three US states.