As you know, we normally dish out #TheBuzz once per day. But today was a busy one, so we’re going to break with tradition!
We’re accustomed to seeing drone delivery as potential for instant gratification in North America, salivating over the possibility of taco air drops and 30-minute Amazon delivery.
But in East Africa, drone delivery can mean the difference between life and death. Tanzania announced Thursday its government will launch a fully-automated drone delivery program in 2018 to send emergency medical supplies to remote areas.
The country joins the ranks of Rwanda, which has already implemented a similar program to deliver blood to clinics.
“While plenty of countries have dabbled in drone delivery,” notes CNN Tech’s Matt McFarland, “no program has matched the scale and impact of what’s unfolding in Rwanda, and now, Tanzania.”
That could be, in part, because the countries have allowed for drones to fly Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS), which is not legal in the U.S. except with under certain special exemptions. As a result, autonomous BVLOS flights won’t be a regular thing here for some time.
But the life-saving potential cannot be underestimated as an incentive to push progress forward.
Previously, Tanzania was only able to deliver medical supplies four times a year for financial reasons. But with the new program, the country will be able to complete up to 2,000 deliveries per day to 1,000 facilities, if needed, according to a statement from program partner, Zipline.
#DronesForGood sounds like an understatement, in this case.
AND SPEAKING OF DRONES FOR GOOD…
A Virginia man has launched a new app that intends to help locate missing children by connecting law enforcement with local drone pilots.
When assistance is needed, DroneUp sends an alert from law enforcement to participating pilots in the area that needs to be searched. Pilots can then accept or decline the mission and report information through the app.
Of course, drone operators need to complete proper training and licensing through the Federal Aviation Administration before joining DroneUp. But the creator of the app, Tom Walker, sees the potential in the sheer number of drones in the area that could provide aid, with certification.
“Right now, there’s 120,000 to 150,000 drones flying in Virginia,” Walker told Inside Business. “We believe by the end of 2018, there will be about a million drones flying in Virginia. That’s not an insignificant number.”
COMING TO A MOON NOT-SO-NEAR YOU
Rovers are so 2003.
John Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory has proposed sending a dual-quadcopter to Saturn’s moon, Titan, as part of NASA’s New Frontiers mission competition.
If selected, the mission would send the rotorcraft lander, dubbed Dragonfly, to survey a variety of the ocean world’s sites and “study the conditions necessary for the habitability of an extraterrestrial environment.”
Titan’s unique chemical makeup is also thought to be similar to that of ancient Earth, the survey of which would allow researchers a glimpse into prebiotic chemistry that “we can’t do in a laboratory,” said the mission’s principal investigator, Elizabeth Turtle.
It’s the perfect mission for a drone, according to the proposal.
“In a single flight of up to an hour, Dragonfly could fly a few 10s of km, farther than any planetary rover has traveled,” reads the mission’s website. “The dense, calm atmosphere and low gravity make flying an ideal means to travel to different areas of the moon.”
NASA will select proposals for further study this fall, and announce the winning mission in 2019.
A VICARIOUS TRIP TO THE SOUTH OF FRANCE…
Bemoaning the end of summer? Savour the sunset ocean view in the French island town of Monticello for a no-fee escape, as seen in this gorgeous footage, filmed with a DJI Mavic Pro.