Drones might be a touchy topic in India right now, between how much convenience they can bring in the public sector versus how much harm they can cause to our privacy.
But in the African country of Rwanda, they’re definitely doing some real good right now.
Zipline, a California-based drone startup, has partnered with the Rwandan ministry of health in order to provide an essential service at a fraction of the time. The company is using its drones to make emergency medical deliveries, particularly blood.
The drone delivery service says its already transported over 5,500 units of life-saving blood to aid teams in remote areas where supplies don’t reach in time, if at all. It’s working with 12 hospitals to provide them with blood transfusion supplies that will go to more than five million people.
Previously, these hospitals would be forced to wait for resupply or, worse, have to use old blood past the point of usability. Now, with the drones capable of going up to 96 km/h, they can receive deliveries in 15-45 minutes instead of four hours. The startup’s logistics sends hospital staff a warning when the drop is inbound. When the drone reaches the location, it simply drops the package via a parachute, and then returns to base for the next run.
While the technology is being applied in hard to access locations in Rwanda, it can just as easily be applied to hospitals in crowded metros. In the case of a major road accident or other similar tragedy, when hospitals are likely to run through all their supplies of blood, drones could be an easy way to deliver fresh batches without being delayed in city traffic.