Rwanda Begins Commercial Drone Use
What is being hailed as the world’s first commercial regular drone delivery service is beginning drop-offs in Rwanda
The drones will initially be used to deliver blood, plasma, and coagulants to hospitals across rural western Rwanda, helping to cut waiting times from hours to minutes.
The aircraft are launched from a catapult and fly below 500ft (152m) to avoid the airspace used by passenger planes.
They have an operational range of 150km (93 miles) but could, in theory, fly almost twice that distance.
The drones are powered by a nose-mounted battery and guide themselves using GPS location data.
They send back information to both their base and to Rwandan air traffic control via a cellular connection.
The cost benefit analysis made shows that the cost per trip is roughly equal to that of the current delivery method, by motorbike or ambulance.
Although Rwanda’s military has shown interest in this development, the country’s information and communications technology minister has said it has no plans for the defence department to use the technology.