Drones paving way for new medical supply delivery routes

Apr 15, 2016 12:00 PM by News Staff

Drone delivery might be years away in the US, but it will become a reality in Rwanda in just a few months' time.

A San Francisco-based company says it will start making its first deliveries of blood and medicine to the African country in July.

Zipline International Inc, backed by tech heavyweight Google Ventures and global venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, demonstrated its technology for journalists last week in an open field in the San Francisco Bay area.

As the drone dipped low before the drop-off area, the bottom popped open, and a cardboard box with a parachute made of a strong craft paper and biodegradable tape burst out, plopping to the ground a few steps away from CEO Keller Rinaudo, who walked over to retrieve it.

Company executives said the cost of each flight was about the same as a motorcycle trip, but far more reliable.

And because deliveries of packages up to 3.5 pounds could be completed in 15-30 minutes, modest packaging eliminates the need for refrigeration along the way, which saves on wasted supplies of precious supplies such as blood.


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