Rwanda Initiates Medi-Drone Deliveries To The Bush
” In the last couple of years, drones have emerged as a very promising tool in the effort to protect Africa’s wildlife, and now they are set to come to the aid of the continent’s human population as well. The Government of Rwanda is implementing a drone delivery program that will see flying robots carry medical supplies, such as blood bags, to rural areas in need.
The prospect of drone delivery has garnered its fair share of publicity in developed countries, with Amazon and Google, along with startups like Flirtey all working to deploy commercial services in spite of tight government regulations. But in Africa, where paved roads and infrastructure to move cargo by land aren’t so widely available, it is a different proposition altogether.
Just as mobile phones arrived to connect the disjointed landscape lacking in landline infrastructure in all kinds of new ways, some imagine that drones can have the same revolutionary impact.
Rwanda is already planning to construct a Droneport, as a pilot phase for a bolder scheme to have drones carry urgent supplies from a central hub to rural areas around the country. Meanwhile, a non-profit called La Fondation Bundi is working to establish a network of drones carrying 20-kg (44-lb) loads around Kenya by 2020. “
” The system uses unmanned aircraft to make deliveries to rural health facilities for less than it would cost to make the same delivery using a motorbike. The system is designed and operated by Zipline, an American robotics company. The first deployment will be based in Muhanga District and will provide Rwandan citizens with reliable, on-demand access to blood and other essential medical products.
An expansion plan of this project looks at building a bigger eco-system of cargo drones in Rwanda, connecting secondary cities, focusing on capacity building and research development and others. The Government of Rwanda is already in partnership with Redline Foundation, a Swiss-based charitable organization, to start this investment.”
And here is article on the Droneports to be constructed throughout Rwanda …
” The building’s design comprises a vaulted brick structure that can be expanded to form new spaces as required. Only the basic formwork and machinery will be delivered to the site, and local raw materials like clay bricks and boulders will be used to complete the construction by local workers.
Foster + Partners made scant technical details concerning the drones themselves available, but says they would initially sport a wingspan of 3 m (10 ft), have the capacity to carry a payload of up to 10 kg (22 lb) and deliver to an area of 100 km (62 miles). If this wasn’t ambitious enough, the plan is to increase to a 6 m (20 ft) wingspan and maximum payload capacity of 100 kg (220 lb) by 2025.
The project is slated to begin as a pilot phase in 2016. All being well, Foster + Partners will then construct three Droneports by 2020. The firm reckons that up to 44 percent of Rwanda would be covered by the delivery network.
More distant plans include the possibility of creating over 40 Droneports across the country in the future, and expanding into neighboring Congo.”