• Prachi Patil

SMART DRONES that deliver life-saving medical supplies

Updated: Apr 8, 2021


On-demand delivery of medical services is crucial during emergency situations and disaster relief scenarios. Zipline is one such company that supports this service with the help of a combination of industry-leading technology. Their mission is to “provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies”. Since their founding year 2014, they have built the world's fastest and most reliable delivery drone. The company has focused on the delivery of blood and lifesaving medical supplies to areas that are hard to reach in Rwanda, Africa but soon will expand to other countries.


Zipline uses fully autonomous drones to deliver 1.8 kilograms (3.9 pounds) of cargo up to 80 kilometers radius away from the launching location, dropping the cargo via parachute and then returning to base. The mini plane has GPS circuitry connected to the battery which keeps the GPS always ON and connected reducing the launch preparation time which is critical during emergencies.

The plane has separated components for easy tracking of issues. Using a mobile app, the preflight services connected to the launching system of the plane can be checked and validated. The launch technicians through their mobile camera can scan the QR code on each part sending a signal to the plane to actuate the control service. The phone then uses a computer vision algorithm to make a pass or fail judgment for each control service before the launch. A simple pulley & motor combination is used for the launch of the plane that helps to quickly & safely get the plane up to the required speed. The plane is communicating its location in 3D space with radio receivers.

This could eventually grow into the supply chain allowing drones to hop between base stations and get their batteries swapped out in minutes and be on their way. This technology is helpful in case of disaster relief scenarios where roads are flooded due to water. Zipline can help in the centralization of emergency supplies and help reduce human exposure to contagious diseases and stop the spread of disease.


For more information please check their website: https://flyzipline.com/


References: https://flyzipline.com/how-it-works/