The future of drone delivery networks may begin in Africa. Startup Zipline plans to start using drones this summer to drop medical supplies and blood to remote areas of Rwanda, where access to roads is often cut off during flooding – all for the same cost as delivery via truck.
The company, which partnered with UPS and Gavi, is currently running test flights in California. The device is a fixed-wing drone capable of carrying 3.3 lbs and can travel a range of 74.5 miles. Despite its lightweight body, the drone can operate in rough weather conditions.
Keller Rinaudo, founder and CEO of Zipline, has hopes for further expansion of the technology, including scaling it globally "so we can do things like global vaccination campaigns in other countries as well," he said.
For now, these tests will also provide information for the Federal Aviation Administration and potentially lay the groundwork for a drone delivery network here at home.
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