Zipline, the company backed by Google Ventures, A16Z, Sequoia, and Katalyst Ventures has found a way to deliver life-saving medicine by drone.
After launching in Rwanda in 2016, the company has been able to provide service for the hospitals and patients to the landlocked country's residents. After a malaria outbreak in the area, Zipline drones delivered blood so that the sick could receive the transfusions they needed to survive.
The drones are built to withstand inclement weather and run on batteries to reduce unnecessary emissions. When the drone is making a delivery, the bottom will open up and a Zipline box carrying the medicine will parachute down. Afterward, the drone will land at one of their distribution centers where a Zipline professional can service the drone. In the case of an emergency, the drones can deploy a parachute and land safely without crashing.
The drones are deployed upon a doctor's request via mobile app. Until that point, medicine is stored in one of the distribution centers to ensure product integrity and help eliminate waste. After a doctor makes a request, the drone zips away at over 100 km/h to its destination.
According to Zipline's website, their company flies over 40,000 kilometers every week -- the equivalent of circumnavigating the planet.
They currently perform test flights in Half Moon Bay, CA and their drones are assembled in South San Francisco, CA. In January 2019, they launched in Ghana to provide even more life-saving deliveries to those in need.