Delivery drones outfitted to make blood supply deliveries in Africa

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Delivery drones outfitted to make blood supply deliveries in Africa

In Northern California’s rural Yolo County, the startup Zipline has set up a distribution center to test it’s newest delivery drone.

These drones fly over mountains and washed-out roads in Rwanda to drop blood at remote clinics.

In the past year, Zipline partnered with the government to make more than 4,000 deliveries carrying 7,000 units of blood.

It delivers 20 to 25 percent of the national blood supply of outside of the capital.

CGTN’s Mark Niu has more.

With the launch of Zipline’s next generation platform, it’s going to be possible to increase the scale of the operation by about 10 times, so Zipline expects to do 10 times as many deliveries in 2018 as in 2017.

On the new drone, parts are swappable and repairs typically take no more than 15 minutes.

It’s also 20 km/hour faster than the previous model and now capable of traveling at 128 km/hr, or about 80 miles/hour.

The drone needs to be able to drop its package into an area the size of 1 ½ parking spaces.

A smooth landing is also vital.  Using an inflatable mat was costly to maintain and didn’t always prevent damage.

That’s why they designed robotic arms to hook and snare it out of the sky.

Zipline also plans to roll out drone distribution centers in Tanzania later this year.