Zipline has announced the beginning of its COVID-19 test delivery programme in Ghana, using autonomous drones to transport the tests in the country.
Zipline said that this is the first time in history that autonomous drones have been used to make regular long-range deliveries into densely-populated areas.
The California-based drone delivery startup is already known for making drone deliveries of medical supplies in African countries including Ghana, and was in talks gain FAA approval in the US before the coronavirus pandemic took over.
Zipline said that it is still in regular communication with the FAA and could begin a similar project to its new Ghana programme in a matter of weeks, should it gain approval.
Its Ghana flights began on Friday April 17, when 51 test samples were collected from rural health facilities and taken to the company’s distribution centre.
The samples were then flown to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra for testing.
Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo commented: “Zipline is dedicated to helping Ghana in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Using contactless drone delivery to transport Covid-19 test samples will allow the government to respond to the pandemic and help save lives more quickly.”