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Drones take off for good

ZIPLINE UPSATLANTA: May 09, 2016. The UPS Foundation has donated US$800,000 to deliver blood and vaccines in Rwanda via drones in partnership with robotics company Zipline and vaccine alliance Gavi.

"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 The UPS Foundation.

Later this year the Rwandan government will begin using Zipline drones to deliver blood to 21 facilities in the western half of the country to help save the lives of women suffering from postpartum hemorrhaging.

UPS says the plan is to expand the initiative to include vaccines and treatments for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Rwanda's drone delivery operation is expected to save thousands of lives over the next three years and could serve as a model for other countries.

"Our partnership with UPS and Zipline is an exciting step into a new territory for the delivery of medical supplies," said Dr. Seth Berkley, chief executive officer, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. "It is a totally different way of delivering vaccines to remote communities and we are extremely interested to learn if UAVs can provide a safe, effective way to make vaccines available for some of the hardest-to-reach children."

Gavi is a public-private partnership that brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners.

DHL Pakstation SkyportBONN: May 09, 2016. Meanwhile in the Bavarian alpine community of Reit im Winkl, DHLParcel has finished a three-month trial of a deliver-by-drone service that incorporates automated parcel kiosks with a third-generation 'Parcelcopter'.

Customers inserted their parcels into the DHL 'Skyport' kiosk that prompted the activation of a drone inside the facility for automated shipment acquisition, takeoff and delivery. DHL says 130 loading and offloading flights were "flawless".

Each round trip from valley location to plateau covered eight kilometers and took eight minutes at a height of 1,200 meters above sea level. In winter the same distance takes 30 minutes by car. The drone's cargo was either sporting goods or urgently needed medicines.

"We're the first worldwide who are able to offer a transport drone – Parcelcopter at DHL – for end customer delivery," said Jürgen Gerdes, management board member for Post - eCommerce - Parcel at DPDHL.

"With this combination of fully automated loading and unloading as well as an increased transport load and range of our Parcelcopter, we have achieved a level of technical and procedural maturity to eventually allow for field trials in urban areas as well," he added.

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