Product reviews, deals and the latest tech news

Rwanda’s national drone service provider is now Zipline

Six years ago, Zipline got its start in the blood delivery business in Rwanda utilising its autonomous electric drones. With the ambitious goal of making over 2 million immediate deliveries and flying over 200 million autonomous kilometres in Rwanda by 2029, the logistics and drone delivery firm is expanding its relationship with the Rwandan government.

Thursday, the Rwandan government and Zipline announced a new agreement that would see the addition of additional delivery stations in both rural and urban areas of the nation. This expansion is estimated to treble the company’s delivery volume.

Rwanda Development Board CEO Clare Akamanzi has promoted Zipline as a “national drone service” with the goal of strengthening Rwanda’s healthcare supply chain, combating hunger, and bolstering the country’s ecotourism business.

Medicine, medical supplies, nourishment, and animal health items are now all part of the list of things that may be shipped to you. The Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda Medical Supply, and the National Child Development Agency are just some of the government entities that will be able to use Zipline’s services.

The agreement demonstrates Zipline’s viability and may encourage it to pursue similar national partnerships in other nations. According to the company’s website, Zipline now operates in Ghana, the United States, Nigeria, and Japan, and is planning to expand to Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya in the near future. Until now, Zipline has never been contracted by a government to operate a nationwide drone service.

Zipline, which began operations in 2014, created everything from the drones to the logistics software to the takeoff and landing mechanism. At first, it operated just in Rwanda, where it provided blood and vaccinations, before extending to Ghana. The firm raised $250 million in venture money in the previous year, fueling rapid expansion of its operations and delivery volume. (So far, $486 million has been invested in the firm.)

Zipline has made over 450,000 deliveries to date, including over 215,000 so far in 2018.

Several strategic alliances have been signed by the corporation in the previous two years, indicating a desire to broaden their reach beyond the healthcare industry. Delivery of medical supplies and PPE to Novant Health in North Carolina, health and wellness items to Walmart, and agreements with Toyota Group and UPS are all part of Zipline’s service offering.