Zipline International Inc.

Zipline Leading the Drone-Ambulance Revolution

  • 26 December 2017
  • Sam Mire

When it comes to issues of life and death, the delivery of emergency medical supplies should be completed through any means. Zipline is a company that has answered the long-standing question of how to deliver potentially lifesaving medical supplies to even the most remote locations: why not drones?

Instead of relying on traditional, resource-draining and cumbersome methods of delivery such as helicopters or ambulances, Zipline is incorporating the evolving array of drone technology to improve the way we deliver blood and other medicines to those in dire need. Zipline has found its greatest foothold in African nations where medical centers, delivery vehicles, and even navigable roads are often in short supply. Zipline has delivered 20% of Rwanda’s national blood supply via drone. The nation’s mountainous terrain has proven the ideal testing ground for drone-based delivery, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. Now, the government of neighboring Tanzania has announced that they will partner with Zipline in establishing the world’s largest drone delivery network.

We strive to ensure that all 5,640 public health facilities have all the essential medicines, medical supplies and laboratory reagents they need, wherever they are, even in the most the hard to reach areas. said Laurean Bwanakunu, Director General of Tanzania's Medical Stores Department. Bwanakunu added that the drone delivery service becomes even more valuable in times of emergency, poor weather, unexpectedly high demand, and instances of small but critical delivery orders.

Despite the increasing adoption of drone delivery of medical supplies in these African nations, the United States has been slower in embracing drones for medical purposes. One of the inhibitors is the stringent regulations imposed upon the domestic aviation network, but the tide is turning with respect to drone delivery in the American medical sphere. In October, the Trump administration approved an executive order that gives local governments increased freedom to test medical drone delivery. It will give localities the autonomy to design their own trials and subsequently apply for a waiver with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Our nation will move faster, fly higher, and soar proudly toward the next great chapter of American aviation, Trump said.

Keller Rinaudo, Zipline’s CEO, elaborated on the results he has witnessed in African nations, and the vision he has for further expansion of drone-based medical delivery systems.

About Sam Mire

Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.