A new Silicon Valley company called Zipline may have just solved the problem that many countries have of getting blood to people in need. The service is often referred to as the “Uber For Blood. ” Basically, local clinics and hospitals in rural areas around the world often find themselves needing blood to save lives, but having to wait hours or even days for trucks to get the blood to them over rough terrain. Now, those hospitals just have to contact the network via Whatsapp and they can often get the blood delivered in less time than it takes to get a pizza delivered in the US.
The drones can fly the blood to the hospital or clinic at 60 MPH without having to worry about roads or mountains, meaning that many patients that would have died waiting for trucks to arrive will now be saved. In their first year of testing, Zipline has delivered more than 5,5000 units of blood, saving countless lives.
To make things even easier, the drones fly on pre-programmed routes to their destinations. They don’t require pilots and can operate 24/7. They don’t even need to worry about landing, as the blood is dropped off in small parachute loads over a designated area.
Currently, Zipline is used at 21 hospitals in Muhanga, Rwanda, and has helped 8 million people since Oct, 2016. This year, the company is hoping to expand to Tanzania and then throughout more of Africa before exploring opportunities around the world. They are also looking to expand their offerings from just blood, to also things like blood transfusion supplies, antimalarials, HIV medication, sutures, and UV tubes.