Drones Will Soon Deliver Medical Supplies to Remote Parts of the U.S.

Zipline / Zipline

In places like Rwanda, where 75 percent of roads are unpaved, drones can be used to solve a lot of problems. Zipline’s fleet of unpiloted aircrafts began delivering medicine and blood in the country last month and now, The Verge reports, the California-based company is expanding its services to the U.S.

For Americans living in urban areas, it’s sometimes easy to forget how isolated other parts of the country are. People living in remote or rural regions often have to travel a greater distance to receive medical attention, which puts them at increased risk of death in emergencies.

When Zipline launches in America, communities (including islands and Native American reservations) in Maryland, Nevada, and Washington state will be the first to benefit from its life-saving services. Hospitals will be able to order supplies via text and an electric “Zip” drone will deliver them using parachutes. The vehicles are capable of carrying up to three pounds of blood or medicine for 75 miles without stopping to recharge. Deliveries are kept under 30 minutes, which means it isn’t necessary to keep the contents refrigerated on the journey.

Zipline isn’t the only company that’s betting on drones to help save lives. Early this year, the Spain-based Embention announced their plan to drop sterilized flies over parts of Africa to curb the spread of disease. While Zipline’s drones haven’t been operational for very long, it’s easy to imagine how they could be successful in Rwanda, the U.S., and other parts of the world. After moving forward with approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, Zipline hopes to have their drones taking flight in U.S. airspace within the next year.

[h/t The Verge]

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