With the help of United Nations, flying robots are delivering blood, birth control and medical supplies to villages where roads are unreliable. Call it a “rebirth of purpose” for drones, a future that holds a tremendous amount of possibility for the bots to become a high-tech tool for all sorts of humanitarian aid.
The United Nations Population Fund has partnered with Netherlands-based Drones for Development to fly birth control and other medical supplies to villages in Ghana with the five-foot wide “Dr.One” drones, which can take off and land vertically and easily cross terrain that trucks have trouble negotiating.
As a result, delivery runs that took two days now take 30 minutes.
The United Nations is considering expanding the program to Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, and Mozambique. Meanwhile, California-based Zipline International is building and operating drones to deliver blood for emergency transfusions to remote clinics around Rwanda.
Transfusions are frequently needed to save women’s lives during childbirth, but the clinics often don’t have the resources to stock and keep blood ready.
Zipline says just two distribution centers will put every clinic in the country within a 15 to 45 minute range for its drone deliveries.
Check out the videos above for more on how this new strategy has been taking off, and see more about Zipline International’s flights below.
Photo: Stig Nygaard, CC
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