Californian-based drone delivery company, Zipline, has raised $25 million in series funding which will be used for increasing its operations in Africa. The company estimates that it will be undertaking 100 emergency flights a day, delivering blood to transfusion clinics across the region, expanding its services in Rwanda and other areas of Africa.
Zip, the company’s fixed-wing UAV, is designed for a high level of safety, using many of the same approaches as commercial airliners according to the company’s website. It can carry vaccines, medicine, or blood, parachuting the items over a designated drop zone. A fleet of Zips can provide for a potential population of millions of people, without roads or traversing adverse terrain conditions.
In total, Zipline has raised over $40m in capital this far, primarily lead by Visionnaire Ventures. Co-founder of Visionnaire Ventures, Susan Cho said, “Zipline is the best possible combination of social impact and business impact. It’s a smart investment that will help save lives.”
The instant delivery system allows medicines and other products to be delivered on an on-demand basis at a relatively low-cost basis in almost any region. Healthcare workers simply need to text message Zipline with an order and the company can deliver life-saving medicines to them, saving patients who cannot afford to travel far to receive the crucial treatments.
Valour Consultancy believes these types of niche drones uses will pave the way for more expansive uses of delivery systems in the future. In 2015, more than 8,000 fixed wing and multi-rotor UAVs have been deployed for delivery and transportations. By 2020, the number of UAVs used in this sector will expand to more than 150,000 as aviation regulators around the world loosen restrictions on the technology. For more information on Valour Consultancy’s comprehensive market on the commercial UAV market, click here.