Rwanda launches world’s first drone delivery service for blood

The drones, programmed via GPS, can fly as far as 93 miles before they need to land, and they’re fast too, traveling at about 43 miles per hour.
If everything goes to plan, Zipline will operate 150 flights a day from central warehouses where blood products and medical supplies are stored, and deliver them to 21 clinics across the country.

On October 14, Rwandan President Paul Kagame joined a team from a Silicon Valley start-up on a hillside 28 miles outside of Kigali and launched the world’s first national drone delivery service. Now, a fleet of 15 small, red-and-white drones created by the robotics company Zipline are aiming to transport blood for transfusions and other emergency medical supplies across the country. “Nobody else in the world is doing anything close to what Rwanda is doing, period,” Zipline’s Justin Hamilton said, “and definitely not at this scale.”

At a time when it is virtually illegal under federal law to deliver goods via drone in the United States, and when other African governments are often openly hostile to drones in their airspace, Rwanda is becoming a powerhouse of drone-based delivery systems. Full Story

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