Technology has getting better and better. Last Oct. 13, Rwandan President Paul Kagame launched the world's first national drone delivery service during a ceremony at Muhanga District.
They release small packages attached to parachutes without needing to land at the delivery points before returning. From then on, the Rwandan government will begin using drones to make up to 150 on demand and emergency deliveries per day. These include life-saving blood to 21 transfusing facilities located in the western half of the country.
Rwanda government paid Zipline deliveries, each of which cost about the same as the motorbike deliveries used previously, according to Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo.
There are also plans to expand into other medical areas such as vaccines. Gavi, a public- private partnership that promotes vaccination, is partnering wit UPS and Zipline on the research.The technology promises to make deliveries much faster and reliable than previously been possible by road.
Drones are powered by a nose-mounted battery and guide themselves using GPS location data. They send back information to both their base and to Rwandan air traffic control via cellular connection. A wide variety of companies - including Amazon, DHL and Singapore Post- have demonstrated drone deliveries elsewhere that use aircraft that can touch down at both ends of their journey.
But one expert praised Zipline's stay-in-the-air approach. Although Rwanda's military has shown interest in Zipline's work, the country's information and communications technology minister has said that it has no plans of using the technology for its defense department.