APD | Drones to deliver human blood, medicines to disaster areas soon in Philippine



By APD writer Melo M. Acuña

MANILA, Dec. 11 (APD) – Disaster-prone areas can be assured of efficient blood supply and medicines during emergencies as the Philippine Red Cross partnered with Zipline, the world’s first and only national scale drone deliver service signed an agreement early Tuesday afternoon.

The signatories were PRC Chairman and CEO and current Senator Richard J. Gordon and Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo with US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim and Zipline Board Member and acknowledged philanthropist Bono as witnesses.

The agreement will involve the establishment of a network of autonomous drones to do on-demand emergency deliveries. The service is expected to be launched in the summer of 2020 and will have a capability of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Thirty-two-year old Keller Rinaudo said they have been serving the people and health facilities of Rwanda and plans to establish three distribution centers which will be capable of making hundreds of deliveries on a daily basis to thousands of health installations across the archipelago.

Zipline will launch the first of three planned distribution centers in the Visayas region as future centers will potentially help the partnership expand service to eastern Visayas and Mindanao.

Senator Gordon said the drones can deliver human blood to a maximum of 80 kilometers from its nearest hub.

Zipline hopes to partner with the Philippine government to further serve the health requirements of over a hundred million people. It’s been said millions of Filipinos are in over 4,000 geographically isolated disadvantaged areas. Medical access are hampered by typhoons, earthquakes, landslides and other natural calamities which more often than not result in deaths.

“Zipline’s instant medical delivery service by drone was designed to help overcome these challenges and bring patients the vital medical supplies they need when required.

The drones fly autonomously and can carry 1.8 kilos of cargo, flying up to 145 kilometers an hourand have a round-trip range of 160 kilometers in high winds and wain. Each Zipline distribution center can deliver to an area of more than 20,000 square miles serving populations of up to 12 million people.

U. S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said he met Zipline’s Rinaudo some six months ago who expressed interest in introducing his technology to the Philippines.

“He is very much interested in the Philippines because he is married to a Filipina,” Ambassador Sung Kim said,

In a literature furnished media practitioners who covered the event, the Philippine Red Cross said deliveries are made from the sky, with the drone descending to a safe height about the group and releasing a box of medicine by parachute to a designated spot at the health facilities it serves.

(Cover: Philippine Red Cross Chair/CEO and Senator Richard J. Gordon (second from left) signed an agreement with Zipline's CEO Keller Rinaudo to utilize drones in delivering human blood and medicines to disaster-hit areas beginning Summer of 2020. Others in photo are US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim (extreme left) and noted civic leader, U2 lead singer and philantrophist Bono (extreme right) at simple ceremonies at the PRC Headquarters at Mandaluyong City shortly after midday today.)