Life Saving Drones

Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAV), also known as drones, have developed a reputation for being associated with war. Military forces have used them to spy on their enemies and even drop bombs on them. But drones are a tool that can be used for much more that just military applications. They can also save lives instead of taking them.

Drones are now being used to transport medical supplies to locations that are very difficult or impossible to deliver to by traditional means. There are some areas that have weather patterns that wash out roads for extended periods, making ground vehicle transportation problematic. These are the kind of situations drones specialize in. Since they are well designed aerial vehicles, they can fly over impassable terrain in virtually the same kinds of weather commercial airlines can. This is good news for parts of the world that do not have efficient supply chains, since a successful delivery of life-saving blood to a clinic in need could mean the difference between life or death for their patients. 


The following video shows how this is already taking place in Rwanda. The company Zipline has established a supply chain for blood deliveries to health institutions in Rwanda. They are working towards the ability to transport other supplies as well.

This is a statement from the Zipline website: Partnering with the Government of Rwanda, Zipline serves 21 hospitals nation-wide. We provide instant access to lifesaving blood products for 8 million Rwandans.






Matternet is another company with a similar mission -- to deliver medical supplies to areas with limited access to roads. But they have a slightly different approach to this task. They want to create a delivery network that uses a leap frog approach similar to traditional shipping companies such as FedEx and UPS. These networks could be set up by the people who need it since they are decentralized.

Regardless of the approach used for delivery, those who benefit from drone technology will receive life-saving treatment they may not have been able to get otherwise. It seems likely that the trend of using drones to save lives will continue in the future.

Sources:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2016/04/12/there-will-be-blood-drone-deliveries-in-africa-could-transform-healthcare/#26aca55030b2

http://flyzipline.com/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/30/humanitarian-drones-medical-supplies-no-roads-technology


https://www.flickr.com/photos/samchurchill/14586999783




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