The world’s first commercial drone delivery service is in Rwanda, and it’s delivering blood.
The service is operated by Zipline, a US robotics and drone company. The drones drop blood parcels on parachutes outside remote health centers. Rwanda’s government pays Zipline for the deliveries, each of which costs about the same as the motorbike deliveries used previously,according to Keller Rinaudo, Zipline’s CEO. (The company declined to say how much that was, saying it would defer to the government to release the figure.)
Health workers can request a blood drop via text message, and it arrives around 30 minutes later. That makes a big difference in a country where short road trips can take hours. Blood loss after birth is one of the reasons maternal mortality is much higher in poor countries than rich ones; it’s the leading cause of death in Rwanda for pregnant women. And blood has to be stored carefully and matched to the recipient… see more