Instant logistics specialist Zipline has commenced regular commercial drone deliveries in Nigeria’s Kaduna state, following a series of test flights and approval by national regulators.
As frequently is the case in its work, San Francisco-based Zipline began its regular aerial activity in Kaduna with drone deliveries of medical supplies to health centers across the state. The main facility served is the Galadimawa Primary Health Centre, with automated UAV flights originating from Zipline’s Pambegua hub – the first opened in its broader effort to extend medical care throughout Nigeria.
The launch of routine drone deliveries in Kaduna state follows a series of trials Zipline began in June as part of its plans to transport vaccines, blood products, and other medical supplies to about 500 facilities that serve around two million people. It came after awaited authorization of Nigerian regulators and followed news last week of Zipline partnering with African e-commerce giant Jumia to provide drone delivery services.
Read: Zipline, Jumia forge African e-commerce drone delivery partnership
The company’s activities in Kaduna mirrors its work with government agencies in other areas of Nigeria to enhance access to healthcare. Their model relies on using fast and affordable UAV transport to bring materials needed for treatment to remote or otherwise underserved communities. Zipline has similar medical drone delivery accords signed with Nigeria’s Cross River and Bayelsa states.
Read more: Zipline readies medical drone delivery in Nigeria’s Bayelsa state
Home to Africa’s largest population and economy, Nigeria is only one of several nations on the continent where Zipline is operating automated medical drone deliveries.
Since launching its operation in 2017 transporting blood across Rwanda, the company has extended its healthcare logistics work to Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Kenya.
Zipline drones in Kaduna will operate within an 80 km radius of logistic hubs, offering on-demand delivery at top speeds of 110 kmh – usually within 30 minutes of health centers placing their orders.
As it has done in other markets, Zipline can be expected to diversify the types of payloads flown as operation continues, including transport of purchases by African consumers fueling huge e-commerce growth.