The bloody power of drones
Drone-based blood transport deliveries are up and running in India. Cdspace Robotics has used an unmanned aerial vehicle to move blood samples from a remote healthcare centre to a hospital in Uttarakhand in northern India 36kms away.
The company’s drones, which can carry loads up to 0.5kg and have a range of 50kms, can do the trip in under 20 minutes, compared to as long as 100 minutes by road.
More trial flights are on the roster over the coming weeks, with emergency medicines also scheduled for the payload.
Drone outfit Zipline launched the world’s first national drone delivery service in Rwanda three years ago, making emergency deliveries of blood to clinics in the western half of the country.
Zipline last month picked up $190 million in funding - the cash injection will enable it to expand across Africa, Asia and the Americas.
In Africa, the company now also operates in Tanzania and Ghana. It launched in the latter market in April in partnership with the government. It has opened four distribution centres in the country, with the support of vaccine alliance Gavi, founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Pfizer and the UPS Foundation.
And Zipline is on mission that extends beyond mere medical drones.
"The old conventional wisdom has been that building a successful technology company requires exploiting people's personal information or hijacking their attention,” says Keller Rinaudo, the firm’s CEO. “Zipline wants to establish a new model for success in Silicon Valley by showing the world that the right technology company with the right mission and the best team can help improve the lives of every person on the planet."