Starting next month, doctors and nurses in far-flung areas of Rwanda will be able to order blood and emergency medicine via a text message.
Drones, part of a new breed designed to save lives, will fly to a clinic using GPS coordinates but instead of landing, it will drop a small package by parachute.
Zipline, the company behind the project, says the aircraft will be capable of making up to 150 deliveries to 21 facilities in the African country, which has a scattered population.
“I think that one of the best ways we can work together with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to help this technology take off in the US is by operating in a country where we can basically serve a very clear need and get tens of thousands of hours of safe flight data,” Keller Rinaudo, the CEO of Zipline, told Al Jazeera.
Despite major progress in the last few years, Rwanda – one of the world’s poorest countries – has a long way to go to provide quality health care.
Building and running hospitals is expensive, so the government has incentive to be the first in the world to establish a commercial drone-delivery network.