It is a common saying that restriction can stir up transformation. When it comes to supplying medical cargo by land in Rwanda, also referred to as the “Land of Thousand Hills,” there are some drawbacks to be considered. The local government and US startup Zipline are starting a drone delivery service that will begin to deliver relevant blood bags to 20 isolated hospitals in the next few months. This is to conquer the nature’s tough topography.
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The absence of road infrastructure combined with the mountainous landscape render servicing rural areas in Rwanda a tough scheme. At the beginning of the year, the government of Rwanda made public a collaboration with Zipline to execute a drone delivery platform that would not render the country’s hilly land a challenge. This was to begin with the construction of three drone ports in Muhanga District, with test flights slated to start in August this year.
Zipline has disclosed some hints about its scheme to execute the mission. Dubbed Zip, the fixed-wing aircraft has the ability to fly up to 100km/h (62 mph) and will be released into the atmosphere from medical warehouses to make hundreds of supplies per day. They also mentioned that it will be cheaper than making the same deliveries by motorbike.
Purchase orders can be forwarded through phone or text message by doctors. The warehouse staff would then stock the drone with the blood bag and other relevant stuff. The crew organizes pre-flight evaluation and then Zip flies independently to the delivery point. The doctor would have been informed on arrival, the package is then deployed employing the parachute affixed and then the Zip goes back to base for the next delivery.
Placing all Rwanda’s 11 million-plus habitants within a 15 to 35 minute time of delivery of any critical medical item is the fundamental objective. The attempt will start by delivery blood products to 20 hospitals and health centers this Northern Hemisphere summer.
Fixed-wing gliders turning out to be a basic instrument for some drone applications, like environmental conservation, surveillance and agriculture. The dexterity of consumer-based quadcopter models are absent. However, they specifically provide longer flight duration, renders them suitable for these sort of application where maneuverability is not considered before range.
The distance which the Zip drone can cover at a time was not disclosed. The Zipline mentions it “unprecedented range” ensures that national-scale coverage is achievable from a single base.