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Rwandan drone delivery system wins global award
September 12, 2017, 12:11 pm

The joint initiative between Zipline, a California-based robotics company, and the government of Rwanda, to deliver medical supplies to remote locations using drones, has won this year’s INDEX Award, in the Body Category.

The Index Awards, often referred to as the Nobel Prize for Design, are the most prestigious awards in the field of design. The annual awards inspire, educate and engage people to design sustainable solutions to global challenges.  Previous winners include such design icons as Apple's Itunes and electric car giant Tesla. The Awards, which are granted in five categories — Body, Home, Work, Play and, Learning and Community — have a prize money of up to $600,000.    

"Zipline is the first endeavor in world history using drones to deliver blood and other essential medical supplies," the organizers of the Awards said during the presentation ceremony held in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The drone delivery system is a laudable, multi-partner approach featuring Silicon Valley company ‘Zipline - Lifesaving Deliveries’ and the Rwandan Government, whose aim is to put every single one of their 12 million citizens within a 15-35 minute range for delivery of any essential medical product that they could need, read a citation from the Awards committee.

Zipline co-founder Keenan Wyrobek said their choice of Rwanda as a partner country was based on the country being, “data driven in their decision-making process and the most rigorous in how they analyze and manage risk in new projects. These two characteristics define Rwanda's innovative spirit and made Rwanda the obvious launch partner for us".

Rwanda's Ambassador to Denmark with residence in Sweden, Christine Nkulikiyinka, said the award was recognition of the value Rwandans — scarred by the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis — attach to human life. "Thanks to our visionary leadership, every life in Rwanda today matters and the government does all it can to find innovative solutions," she said. "Leapfrogging inefficient systems is the only option we have to achieve our goals", she added.



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