Medical Drones as part of Africa’s New Infrastructure

 

Since 2013, Africa has been considered as the world poorest inhabited continent. According to the World Bank, millions of people are dying of preventable diseases. One of the causes of this is the lack of infrastructure. To help solve the issue, The World Bank created a strategy to start solving this problem.

Developing roads, hospitals and other infrastructural projects can take a lot of time. So the people responsible for the development decided to act quicker. They decided to use drones.

 

Medical Drone with cargo
Medical Drone with cargo – Credits to Dronebelow.com

 

Rwanda Medical Drones

 

Rwanda is an African country, famous for its uneven terrain. It is home to five volcanoes, 23 lakes, and numerous rivers. With this in mind, implementing an efficient infrastructure of roads is a very expensive process. Because of this, the country decided to be the first one to accept the idea of using medical drones as a delivery services.

The project is supported by the Californian Robotic company Zipline. Starting from October 2016 this company is as an official partner of Rwanda’s government.

 

The Process of Delivery

 

The process starts with a text message from the health workers on the ground and continues with a preparation of the supplies for the flight. After the preparation is over at the Zipline Distribution center, the drone is launched. These drones can fly with a speed as high as 100 km/h and in any kind of weather condition. The drones can even reach the target within 30 mins. In flight, there are no stops for the plane.

 

Medical Drone Zipline
Zipline launching platform for medical drone – Credits to Zipline

 

The problem of this service can be the radius it is able to cover. According to the company, the drones can cover a radius of 80 kilometers. In order to create better connectivity stop points may one day be included.

After the drone delivers the supplies, it is sent back to the Zipline Distribution Center. In order to learn more about the entire process and the services this company offers, you can visit their site.

 

Medical Packadge
Drone delivering medical package – Credits to Zipline

 

Swiss-led Drone Project 

 

Besides Zipline, there are other companies and organizations which are working medicinal drone projects in Rwanda. Among them is a man named Jonathan Ledgard from Switzerland, who has different idea of how to solve the problem.

Legard is proposing two types of drone services. The red line, which is the faster of the two, includes smaller and faster drones and delivers medicine in emergency situations. Opposite the red line is the blue line. This is the commercial line. This line will deliver the rest of the supplies to the people. 

 

Rwanda Medical Drone
Redline and Blueline Medical Drones in Rwanda – Credits to swissinfo.ch

 

As a part of this infrastructure, the architecture studio Foster and Partners designed the world’s first Droneport. This new typology for a building should be something like the gas station. For now this building is just a prototype, but it will be built by 2020.

 

Droneport
Droneport by Foster and Partners. Credits to LafargeHoldimFoundation

 

Africa is not the only continent which is using drones to improve its delivery services. Many countries in Europe believe that they can benefit from this technology. Denmark recently launched its research proposal for Emergency drone network. In the future, even more countries will join and benefit from this technology. In the mean time check out this biodegradable medical drone.

Source: The World Bank, The Telegraph