Hospitals and health clinics in the remotest parts of the country are set to benefit from Zipline drone services that deliver medical supplies, animal health products and e-commerce supplies within the shortest time possible.
Zipline drone technology is an instant delivery service that operates a drone manufacturing and delivery system. It delivers medical supplies as well as non-medical products including ecommerce and animal health products.
According to Zipline Kenya General Manager, Winfred Muiruri, the drone technology takes between 10 and 45 minutes to deliver the supplies within an area within the radius of 80 to 120 kilometers from the Zipline centre. This means a distance that could take about six hours by road will be covered under 30minutes by the Zipline drones.
How do Zipline drones operate?
The General Manager explains that upon request by either medical staff at remote hospitals and clinics, veterinary, or other designated official, a Zipline operator receives this order and prepares the products into a special delivery package with a parachute.
A Zipline flight operator then packs the medical products into a drone and performs pre-flight checks. The drone is then launched with a super capacitor-powered electric catapult launcher and accelerates from 0 to 70 miles per hour (0 to 113 km/h) in 0.33 seconds.
The drone then flies autonomously to its delivery site while a remote pilot at each distribution center monitors all drones in flight. The drone descends to 20–35 meters (66–115 ft) before dropping the package under a paper parachute.
Why Zipline drones?
Muiruri says Zipline is well equipped with the state-of-the-art warehousing facility and cold chain storage that keeps all products within the recommended standards for delivery thus making it easier to make deliveries of supplies such as vaccines, infusions, whole blood, platelets, and frozen plasma, among others more sufficient and timelier despite terrains.
In agriculture, it is supporting the delivery of animal genetic material like swine and bull semen and animal vaccines. “Zipline provides easy, more efficient, reliable and safer means of delivery of goods to all locations, day/night, rain or shine,” says Muiruri.
She said the company aims to create logistics solutions that serve all humanity equally by leveraging its expertise in robotics and autonomy to design, manufacture and operate an automated delivery system.
How safe is the Zipline drones in the Sky?
The technology uses specific routes identified through digital mapping and identification of locations. Our drones can easily detect an aircraft on their flight path and take a diversion to avoid collision. All our drones also have redundant features so that one is always on standby to operate in case one has a fault in-flight.
“We are the only drone company that boasts of a parachute landing system which makes the drone to safely land at any given time should the aviation authority ask us to land because of some emergency work within the airspace or even because of any unforeseen failure in flight. We work with the KCAA to ensure that we are very fit to launch a drone at any given time,” said Muiruri.
The General Manager says the company is engaging with county governments in view of launching the drone technology.
Recently, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the County Government of Kisumu.
The agreement gives way to the establishment and operation of a Zipline distribution hub in Kisumu County to act as the base of operations for the Zipline Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and the Zipline services capable of serving health projects and facilities across the 16 Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) Counties.
Muiruri says the launch of the hub will see medical commodities delivered to over 500 health facilities as well as facilitate delivering adolescent health products to communities.
“We are in the final stages prior to launch. We will make the announcement when everything is set to launch our Kisumu hub and any other new hub as may come up.”
Zipline, which was founded in 2014, aims to create logistics solutions that serve all humans equally by leveraging expertise in robotics and autonomy to design, manufacture and operate the world’s largest automated delivery system.