Zipline uses fixed wing drones to remotely deliver vaccines medicines and supplies.
Zipline is a delivery drone manufacturer that specializes in medical supplies delivery in remote locations in all weather conditions. Their drones or “Zips” are fixed-wing delivery drones that are currently serving up to 13,000 people in Rwanda (21 hospitals) and Ghana (more than 2,000 facilities). Their mission is to integrate their delivery system into the healthcare system and deliver life-saving medical products to remote hospitals or individuals in under 30 minutes. The Zip does not require a landing site at the delivery locations as the medical product is dropped by parachute into a designated landing zone, a target area of five meters in diameter, and then returns back to the distribution depot.
Zipline has expanded and devised additional applications in the US:
- US healthcare to provide on demand delivery for patients, either at home after a doctor virtual visit or if they need critical medication.
- Life sciences to give the opportunity to life sciences companies to reach patients beyond the usual urban areas and cover a wider range of population in studies.
- Covid-19 Response to provide vulnerable patients with critical medication.
- Defense and disaster response: to deliver life saving medical supplies in combat or disaster zones
Zipline, GAVI, UPS, and the Rwandan Ministry of Health
The implementation in Ghana cost around 12 million USD, according to the BBC, where 30 drones and 4 headquarters were deployed.
Drones are not available for sale, the company sells the whole service.
Goal 3: Good health and well-being
Governments, NGOs, health care providers supporting remote communities, patients
The drones are designed and assembled at Zipline’s headquarters in Half Moon Bay, California.
Zipline works with governments, NGOs or regional authorities to serve the medical community at the country level. Interested partners can contact Zipline on their information page or via email.
Zipline has made around 42,385 deliveries until now
A list of known products/services the device can deliver
Maximum distance the transport device can travel from its origin
Zipline’s “Zip” is a fixed wind drone. It is a proprietary design with all software and hardware designed in-house. It has a range of 100-150 km round trip, with 1.75 kg of cargo, depending on wind conditions. It is designed with redundancy in mind as it features two motors with independent batteries with redundant flight hardware both internal to the drone as well as on the ground based flight control servers. In the event of a catastrophic failure it has an emergency parachute and kevlar fuselage.
– Zipline uses pneumatic launch ramps to fire the drones aloft
– Drone power supply: 2 interchangeable batteries
– Drone weight: ~10 kg
– Products are discharged with a parachute into a designated landing zone
Provided by Zipline as a part of the service
To be the last mile solution for critical medical supply deliveries in remote areas regardless of terrain or infrastructure.
Since launch, Zipline has over 42,385 deliveries including over 10,000 units of blood. Most deliveries arrive in under 30 minutes. Interview with representative
The drones can deliver a product in about 15 minutes. They are capable of flying up to 75 mph with a range of about 93 miles. Each drone can support a payload of up to 3½ pounds.
All flights are coordinated with The Rwandan Civil Aviation Authority. All of the flight systems and hardware have built-in redundancies as well as an emergency parachute landing system in the case of catastrophic failure.
Drone guidance system that logs the GPS coordinates for a received request and prints a delivery box label with a scannable code that programs the drone’s flight plan, thermally insulated packaging for the medicines, and blood. Zipline is also designing a custom guidance system.
Haidari, L.A., Brown, S.T., Ferguson, M., Bancroft, E., Spiker, M., Wilcox, A., Ambikapathi, R., Sampath, V., Connor, D.L. and Lee, B.Y., 2016, The Economic and Operational Value of Using Drones to Transport Vaccines, Vaccine, 34, pp. 4062-4067.
Heike, W., 2017, Framework for the Evaluation of Cost-Effectiveness of Drone Use for the Last-Mile Delivery of Vaccines, University of Barcelona, ISGlobal 2016-2017.
Padua, D., 2016, From Caravaggio to Braque: Digital Technology and the Illusion of Augmented Responsibility, Communication Technology, 474, pp. 241-256.
Scott, J.E. and Scott, C.H., 2017, Drone Delivery Models for Healthcare, Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 2017.
The Roundup, 2016, Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology: May/June 2016, 50(3), pp. 148-151.
Field trials that evaluated the cost-effectiveness of drone delivery compared to other methods.
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