Zipline said it could complete a delivery in around 30 minutes after receiving an order via a call or text message.
"This commercial partnership between Rwanda and Zipline is expected to save thousands of lives over the next three years," Zipline said. "Rwanda is leading the world by using cutting-edge technology to leapfrog the absence of road infrastructure."
Transfusion clinics in rural Rwanda face a number of supply chain problems: Blood spoils quickly if not kept at the correct temperature and infrastructure is poor, with roads often washed away during the rainy season.
Because there is a vast number of blood products, and no way to accurately predict what will be needed, many clinics do not store all the blood they may need, Zipline says.
Its drones can carry a payload of 1.5kg — enough blood to save a life — the company says, and can complete a 150km round trip in all weather conditions.
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