Drones

Drone-delivered blood takes flight in Rwanda

Drone-delivered blood takes fl...
When the drone reaches its destination, its payload is released over a predetermined area and is parachuted down to the ground
When the drone reaches its destination, its payload is released over a predetermined area and is parachuted down to the ground
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When the drone reaches its destination, its payload is released over a predetermined area and is parachuted down to the ground
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When the drone reaches its destination, its payload is released over a predetermined area and is parachuted down to the ground
The drones each have a range of up to 150 km (93 mi) and are able to carry 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) of blood
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The drones each have a range of up to 150 km (93 mi) and are able to carry 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) of blood
Zipline's drones are launched from a distribution center in the Muhanga region of Rwanda
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Zipline's drones are launched from a distribution center in the Muhanga region of Rwanda
Emergency orders for blood are placed via text message and the required blood product, contained in a payload box, is loaded into a drone
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Emergency orders for blood are placed via text message and the required blood product, contained in a payload box, is loaded into a drone
The drones fly autonomously and make deliveries to transfusion facilities up to 75 km (47 mi) away
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The drones fly autonomously and make deliveries to transfusion facilities up to 75 km (47 mi) away
The drones are able to make up to 150 deliveries a day to 21 transfusion facilities in the western half of Rwanda and can fulfil orders in about 30 minutes
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The drones are able to make up to 150 deliveries a day to 21 transfusion facilities in the western half of Rwanda and can fulfil orders in about 30 minutes
A fleet of 15 drones, or "Zips," is used to make the deliveries
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A fleet of 15 drones, or "Zips," is used to make the deliveries

What is claimed to be the world's first national drone delivery service has launched in Rwanda. Operated by US robotics firm Zipline in partnership with the Rwandan government, the service makes emergency deliveries of blood from a distribution hub to transfusion facilities up to 75 km (47 mi) away.

Plans for the service were first announced early this year, with details about how it was to operate subsequently released in May. In a country where postpartum hemorrhaging is the leading cause of death for pregnant women and it is difficult for clinics to keep different blood types on hand and stored safely, drones are seen as tools that can deliver blood to remote areas quickly without needing to navigate hilly landscapes and difficult roads.

A fleet of 15 autonomous drones known as "Zips" is used to make the deliveries, each capable of traveling 150 km (93 mi) and carrying 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) of blood per trip. Emergency orders for blood are placed via text message and the required product is loaded into a drone at the distribution center in the country's Muhanga region.

When the drone reaches its destination, its payload is released over a predetermined area, or "mailbox," and is parachuted down to the ground. A text message is sent to the intended recipient shortly before the drone reaches the destination so that they can be ready to collect the blood when it lands. Delivery complete, the drone then returns to the distribution center.

Emergency orders for blood are placed via text message and the required blood product, contained in a payload box, is loaded into a drone
Emergency orders for blood are placed via text message and the required blood product, contained in a payload box, is loaded into a drone

The drones, which can fly in both wind and rain, are able to make up to 150 deliveries a day to 21 transfusion facilities in the western half of Rwanda and can fulfil orders within about 30 minutes. The team says it expects the drones to save thousands of lives over the next three years.

Although the service is initially only delivering blood, other payloads such as medicine and vaccines are expected to be added by way of a partnership with UPS, Gavi and the Vaccine Alliance. Zipline also plans to expand the service to the eastern half of Rwanda next year, putting almost the entire population of the country within range, and to eventually to roll out similar services to other places around the world. The service was launched yesterday by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Source: Zipline, UPS

1 comment
Marty Williams
Do you want skies filled with flying vampires? Because that's how you get skies filled with flying vampires.