Rwandan drone delivery project set to start in July
US-based Zipline is set to start operating a drone delivery service for medical supplies in Rwanda in July. The project is a partnership between Zipline and the Government of Rwanda.
Zipline will be using a 15-strong fleet of drones, each of which have twin motors and a 3.5 pound payload. Unlike most drones, Zipline’s UAVs are more like airplanes than helicopters – which gives them a greater range and allows them to fly in strong winds.
When the Zipline drones reach their target hospitals, they will not land or hover over the dropzone but will instead offload the medical supplies in packages equipped with paper parachutes.
The drones will then return to the home “drone port”, where they will be prepped for their new mission with a flight plan stored on a SIM card and a new battery.
Zipline signed a contract with the Rwandan government to operate the drone service in February. A small Zipline team will be based in a city near the Rwandan capital of Kigali to oversee the service.
Sources at Zipline indicated that the project in Rwanda could be the first step in creating a worldwide drone delivery network for more than just medical purposes.