Rural Rwandan communities will now have access to a delivery service for blood, and other medical supplies, by use of drones. The company that will supply this service is named Zipline, and the drones will deliver these packages via parachute.
The drones have an operational range of 93 miles, but there is speculation that they may be able to fly up to twice that distance. They are launched via catapult, fly at up to 62mph, and stay below 500ft to avoid invading passenger jet airspace.
The drones deliver medical supplies to rural Rwandan hospitals, and where delivery time could normally be hours to receive these packages over land, waiting time could be cut to just minutes. The drones are powered by a battery mounted in its nose, and use GPS to navigate.
The drones themselves do not land to deliver their payload, thereby minimizing unintentional harm.
Requests for the delivery of a package is lodged via text message, and the drone is packed by the healthcare facility and can be sent within minutes of receiving an order. The cost of each delivery is said to be similar to the cost of sending each package over land.
Initially, 15 of these drones will be operational to begin with, and will fly around the clock, operating in winds of up to 19mph, and in light rain if need be.
A similar plan for drone delivery in Kenya was terminated several years ago due to the authorities seeing it as a threat to national security, and many African governments do not see the distinction between the humanitarian benefit, and the use of these drones for military intelligence.
This is a positive step towards combatting the problem of adequate and timely supply of healthcare products and medication to thousands of Rwandan citizens. Hopefully other African governments soon see this service as a valuable asset to their countries, and allow this technology to be taken advantage of within their own borders.