When SA held its first dedicated conference on drones in Ekurhuleni last year, the delegates attending it heard that though the country had been the first to fly medical drones, it had fallen behind, and other African countries had taken up the challenge. One of these was Rwanda. In October its president, Paul Kagame, oversaw the launch of a system to deliver blood plasma, medical samples, medicine and surgical supplies to hospitals and clinics by drone, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It was a world first. Then, in December, trials were announced in Tanzania for this year. The Rwandan system envisages a network of drone ports to and from which UAVs will fly regular geofenced routes (using smartphone messaging technology) delivering their lightweight yet valuable cargo. It is a collaboration between California-based drone start-up Zipline and US package-delivery firm United Parcel Service (UPS). Zipline is backed by venture capital from the likes of Google Ventures and Microsoft...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.