The future of delivery? This startup uses drones to deliver life-saving medicines to remote villages in Africa | tech news

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The future is drone is here. What started as a hobby for many drone enthusiasts has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry in just a decade. Due to the growing demand for drones from organizations and the government, the overall size of the drone market is estimated at US$100 billion.

Unlike ancient drones that used remote controls, technological advances like artificial intelligence now make modern drones easy to manipulate and maneuver. Anyone with smartphones can now fly mini drones with just a few to a few hours of training. The use of drones can be found in all industries, especially in transport and logistics. Today, drones are used to deliver medical supplies and other life-saving drugs to emergency workers, doctors and patients in remote parts of the world.

One startup leading the future of the drone revolution is a Half Moon Bay, California-based drone startup called Zipline. This logistics startup is currently working with NGOs and pharmaceutical companies on vaccines for people in remote villages in Africa.

We first wrote about Zipline back in 2019 after the startup demonstrated its medical supply drones for the US military. Zipline first made a name for itself in Rwanda and Ghana, where the startup used its autonomous electric drones to deliver blood, vaccines, life-saving drugs and other emergency medical supplies to remote villages. Today, Zipline has grown exponentially, expanding its autonomous aircraft delivery service to many other countries in Africa and around the world.

In August 2019, zipline light unmanned aerial vehicles made hundreds of supply drops during Australia’s live-fire war games. The Naval Medical Research Center’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and Naval Advanced Medical Development (NMRC-NAMD) also used Zipline’s autonomous drones to conduct more than 380 shipments of blood and other medical supplies to troops during a live-fire conduct exercise with the United States. Australians and other forces.

“The US military is one of the largest providers of lifesaving healthcare and critical assistance in conflict, humanitarian and disaster relief scenarios around the world. Zipline is proud to partner with the Department of Defense because our goal is to give people the care they need to stay healthy and alive, no matter where they are in the world and no matter the circumstances.” says Keller Rinaudo, CEO of Zipline.

Just last November, Zipline partnered with Pfizer and BioNTech for the first mRNA Covid-19 vaccines in Ghana. The startup completed the first long-distance drone delivery of both approved mRNA COVID-19 vaccines requiring ultra cold chain in Ghana. The collaboration will enable the distribution of approximately 50,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Ghana, pioneering a new vaccine distribution model.

To date, Zipline has distributed more than 220,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from multiple manufacturers, the first company to do so nationally via an autonomous airplane. Zipline said it plans to give out millions more as the offer becomes available.

Just last month, Zipline announced that it had received Part 135 Air Carrier certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). “Being certified as a US airline is an important step forward in scaling safe, sustainable drone delivery operations in the United States and around the world,” the company said in a expression.

Four months earlier, Zipline also announced in a Twitter post that it had partnered with the Government of Ghana and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance to enable rapid, equitable and cost-effective delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.

Now, not only does Zipline serve remote villages in Africa, last year the company signed a deal with Walmart to launch an autonomous airplane delivery service in Northwest Arkansas.

Founded in 2014 by Keenan Wyrobek, Keller Rinaudo and Will Hetzler and based in Half Moon Bay, California, Zipline designs, manufactures and operates drones to deliver essential medical supplies to everyone, no matter where they live.

To date, Zipline has flown 18,083,320 miles, made 254,233 commercial deliveries, delivered 1,891,400 bottles of medication and served over 25 million customers. Zipline has built the world’s fastest and most reliable delivery drone, the world’s largest autonomous logistics network.

Since its inception eight years ago, Zipline has raised a total of $483 million in funding across eight rounds. In June 2021, Zipline raised $250 in a Series E round valued at $2.75 billion to expand its logistics networks in Africa and the United States.

Below is a video showing how Zipline helped Rwanda set up a drone delivery service.





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