A Medical Drone Company is close to getting approval from the FAA after developing a program that helps to deliver blood to hospitals in Rwanda. The company is certain that the drones can cut down the time it takes to deliver medical supply requests to health centers in rural America. In Rwanda, if a hospital facility needs blood for an emergency procedure, doctors can text or call a distribution center and within 30 minutes a drone would deliver the blood. This is the first of its kind in the entire world and has been in operation for about 18 months.
The name of the startup behind this program is called Zipline. They’re hoping to start using their drones in the United States after approval. In the next few weeks, the FAA is expected to grant several approvals for pilot projects that are being run by the government. Rural America will benefit from medical delivery drones. Since 2010, many hospitals have closed down and hundreds more are at risk of closing their doors. Medical providers in these rural areas have a negative operating margin and residents have to rely on smaller medical facilities.
With medical delivery drones, these hospitals and clinics will have easy access to the necessary supplies that they need. Because blood products spoil quickly – especially outside of big hospitals – it is common for medical facilities to run out of a particular blood type when it is time for an operation. Medical drone deliveries will ensure that they get what they need faster, cheaper and more reliably.
Zipline will be providing access to health care on demand when hospitals and doctors need it. The company has been delivering in Rwanda for the last 18 months and have flown nearly 200,000 miles with over 7000 units of blood. They can apply this experience and the data gathered into the American medical industry.
The FAA requires thousands of hours of flight data before granting new permits. Zipline will need permission to fly in order to amass the flight hours requested by the FAA. Zipline recently upgraded their system to make deliveries faster and hopefully will serve more people in the United States than they did in Rwanda as the US population is nearly 30 times that of Rwanda.
The new design means that the drones can fly at top speeds and up to 4 times faster than the average drone. Deliveries can be sent out in under a minute after the request is received. This is a huge leap when you compare it to the 10 minutes it previously took to send it out in Rwanda.