Zipline‘s medical delivery drones have been saving lives in Africa for years, but not many people get to see them in action. Today we share a video from Simon Wilson looking at the inner workings of the delivery system at a Zipline center in Ghana.

YouTuber Simon Wilson was given the chance to travel to Ghana with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The trip shows off the work to vaccinate at-risk people, as well as to treat snakebite victims.

Prepping the drones

In the video, Wilson enters the Zipline drone delivery center where we can see batteries charging, and drones being worked on. Workers are preparing the drones for the 30-40 flights the center will launch each day. The drones can fly within an 80km ( about 50-mile) radius around the center on roundtrip missions, cutting a 4-hour road journey down to around 45 minutes by air.

The drones are modular, and we first see fuselages waiting to be sent off on their next mission. Once an order comes in, one of the fuselages is taken to the catapult-style launch system. There it receives the payload, along with the wings and a freshly charged battery.

Even cooler than watching the drones shoot off into the distance is seeing how they come back into the base. Since the drones don’t have landing gear or the ability to hover, Zipline turned to an aircraft carrier-inspired design. The drones carry tiny hooks that snag onto a cable suspended between two metal towers. The cable slows the drone down almost instantly.

Be sure to watch the full video below to get all the information on the Zipline delivery drone system, as well as seeing the drones take-off and land in their own unique way.

What are your thoughts on Zipline’s delivery drone network? Do you think more countries should be embracing this technology? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Simon Wilson

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