Drones for hope- One of the greatest health challenges, especially in developing countries’ healthcare systems, is to get medical supplies to emergency situations. This is often due to challenging terrain and big gaps in local infrastructure. Zipline is the world’s first commercial medical drone delivery system. Zipline is the first endeavor in world history using drones to deliver blood (and other essential medical supplies). Each Zipline drone is designed to carry a payload of 1.75 kilos, has an operational range of 150 kilometers, and can fly 500 deliveries in 24 hours - in all weather conditions. The cost per trip is roughly equal to that of the current delivery method, by motorbike or ambulance. The system is elegantly designed from end-to-end, especially its boomerang approach that brilliantly bypasses the inherent drone issue of having to land, which depletes battery power, reducing the drone’s range. But also the drones themselves, the iconic red Zipline boxes and the clever user interface of the software suggests not only a coherent designed to improve life – from scratch – but also the entire process behind the it. Zipline is the result of a laudable, multi-partner approach featuring Silicon Valley company “Zipline – Lifesaving Deliveries” and the Rwandan Government, whose aim is to put every single one of their 11 million citizens within a 15-35 minute range for delivery of any essential medical product that they could need. In 2017, blood deliveries to 21 transfusing facilities in the western part of Rwanda have begun; this part of the country being notorious for its poor roads and healthcare infrastructure, which often made it difficult to reach patients in need – and in time. Deliveries will thus initially reach about 7 million Rwandan people, covering an area of 7,000 square miles, but Zipline recently announced that it will begin delivering blood and medicine to remote and rural areas in Maryland, Nevada, and Washington (US) under a program set to launch later in 2017. This could serve as a pilot project for a global roll out and a complete and revolutionary redefinition of the delivery of emergency supplies.
Category: 2017 INDEX AWARD WINNER BODY CATEGORY