Rwanda has launched the world’s first national drone delivery service that is aimed at transporting essential medical products or services to remote areas in the country.
The drones have been piloted by Zipline, an American robotics company and is said to transport blood and plasma to clinics in the rural western parts of the country, where poor road conditions often delay delivery of medical services or products.
Once complete, Rwanda plans to fly between 50 and 150 drones a day delivering blood and plasma to 21 clinics country wide.
When making a request of a blood drop-off, health care workers send a text message and a drone arrives half an hour later.
However, these drones do not land at the medical centers, but rather drop packages via disposable parachutes at the clinics’ receiving area. The drones are powered by a nose-mounted battery and guide themselves through GPS location data.
They fly with a distance of 40 miles per hour and can travel about 90 miles round trip before needing to recharge. They then send back information to both their base and to Rwandan air traffic control via a cellular connection.