Drones will deliver essential supplies such as food, medicine and blood to combat malaria and sickle cell among other diseases.
Rwanda is set to be the first country in the world to have a “droneport” to deliver “urgent and precious supplies to remote areas on a massive scale” according to statement by droneport project partners.
The project is a brainchild of Madrid based Norman Foster Foundation, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Foster + Partners and Redline partners (Afrotech).
The drones would be cost and energy effective and the aircraft would carry food, medicine, blood, and other supplies to regions with infrastructural challenges “to improve health and economic outcomes in Africa”.
“The specialist drones can carry blood and life-saving supplies over 100 kilometres at minimal cost, providing an affordable alternative that can complement road-based deliveries” the foundation said.
The project is set to begin in 2016 and completed by 2020 with 40 droneports set to be built across Rwanda, making drones as ubiquitous and integral to the infrastructure system as petrol stations are.According to Norman Foster Foundation and partners, “initially, the project will deploy 3-metre wingspan drones, capable of carrying a payload of 10kg. By 2025, there will be drones with a 6-metre wingspan, capable of carrying payloads of 100kg”.
The project aims to combat deaths from diseases such as Malaria, which kills 450, 000 people per year, attributed to a lack of blood available for treatment and Sickle Cell, the treatment for which requires regular and safe blood transfusion.
Source: Norman Foster Foundation and partners