UPS partners with drone project for healthcare supply chains in Rwanda

UPS has formed a partnership with medical alliance Gavi and robotics firm Zipline to explore the use of unmanned aircraft to deliver vaccines to remote locations in Rwanda.
The UPS Foundation has awarded an $800,000 grant to support the launch of the Gavi and Zipline initiative, with the belief that the model could be applicable in other areas of the world.
In February, Zipline launched the project as a partnership with the Rwandan government to deliver vital medical aid to remote locations. Tests are due to start in August.
“Public-private partnerships are the key to solving many of the world’s challenges, with each partner contributing its unique expertise,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPS.
“UPS is always exploring innovative ways to enhance humanitarian logistics to help save lives, and we’re proud to partner with Gavi and Zipline as we explore ways to extend the Rwandan government’s innovations at a global scale.”
UPS said the public-private partnership combines a century of global logistics expertise, cold chain and healthcare delivery from UPS with Zipline’s national drone delivery network and Gavi’s experience in developing countries focused on saving lives and protecting health in the most remote places of the world.
“This will be the first time in human civilization that autonomous or self-driving vehicles will be used to deliver medical products,” said Zipline chief executive Keller Rinaudo.
“It will be the first time ever that these vehicles are integrated into an existing public health supply and finally, it will be the first time this technology is actually commercialised.”

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