Zipline- Expanding their Life-Saving Services to Tanzania
Zipline is a new drone delivery service that is saving the lives of people every day.
DronesInsite talks a lot about the different uses of drones besides recreational use. Drones uses include search and rescue missions, collecting scientific data, tracking environmental patterns, and more. All these purposes prove how drones really do make the world a better place, when flown safely and appropriately. If this doesn’t convince you and drones are still just an RC toy, check out this progressive company, Zipline.
Zipline’s bio is “Using small robot airplanes to save lives”. Zipline is the world’s only drone system that delivers urgent medical supplies to hospitals, clinics, and patients, no matter where they live. This system was developed by a California based robotics company, and launched its first services in Rwanda in 2016. They started delivering blood in Western Rwanda where emergency vehicles were unable to reach hospitals because of dangerous terrain and poor infrastructure of roads.
How ZipLine Works
Ziplines drones are custom engineered, fixed-wing drones (airplane design). The distribution center in Rwanda has 15 drones that fly up to 150 km roundtrip, and can carry up to 1.5kg of blood. The process is so simple. When a clinic or hospital needs blood, the doctor sends a WhatsApp message or logs into Zipline’s order site, with the order for their patient. Zip sends a confirmation message back once the drone is in the air. Trip times range from 5 minutes to 40 minutes. Before zip drones, it would have taken a car 4 hours to reach a hospital. Before the drone reaches the hospital, another message is sent that it is arriving, and the drone drops the parachuted package in a pre-determined zone.
The project in Rwanda has been so successful; Zipline drones have flown more than 1,400 flights over 60,000 miles, and delivered more than 2,600 units of blood since its start in October 2016. Zipline is now launching an even bigger service in Tanzania. There will be 4 different distribution centers in Tanzania. The service includes blood delivery but is expanding to deliver other resources. 100 drones will be delivering vaccines, HIV medications, antimalarials, emergency medical supplies, and other medical products.
Why They Are Successful in Helping People
Zipline is unique from other drone delivery services. Most drone delivery services that are being launched, are delivering “goods” that are not necessities and only reach a small zone of people, where drones can land easily. Zipline was designed to help people in a very matter of fact way. Clinics and hospitals in rural areas go through simple processes, that is also affordable to them. It is also made for drones to get through land that can only be done using small UAVs.
Zipline is helping to solve a global problem on the local level. Local people are running the drone distribution system, which is helping people from their country receive emergency medical care in an efficient, effective way.