President Paul Kagame has cleared Logistics startup Zipline to make deliveries to his home using its latest drone unveiled early this week.
In an exclusive interview with Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, the Founder and CEO Zipline, Kagame commended the growing and successful partnership with Zipline.
“One can use this particular partnership between zipline and Rwanda as a case in point of transformation of economic prosperity that changes people’s lives for the better,” President Kagame said during their five-minute interview.
Zipline an American company that designs, manufactures, and operates delivery drones, began deliveries at its first distribution center in Muhanga district in late 2016.
President Kagame sent the inaugural flight from a tablet-controlled launcher at a drone-port.
Critics of Zipline claimed that the project would not go far, however, President Kagame noted, “I was always convinced although i wasn’t necessarily sure that something good can come out of it,” He said while responding to Keller Rinaudo Cliffton’s question on why he was supportive of the project.
Later in 2018, the Rwandan government signed a new deal to build a second distribution center near Kayonza district.
“Our history and where we have come from has been marked by a lot of difficulties but we also understand that we have to do things and move. Much as it looked difficult from the beginning doing what we did together we thought we needed to try,” Kagame explained to Keller Rinaudo during the interview.
Keller Rinaudo previously noted that there have been a number of drone delivery demonstrations across the world, but nothing like the Rwanda operation.
“We’re operating a commercial service at a national scale, with national regulatory approval and a customer that is paying us to do it on a daily basis.”
Zipline drones in Rwanda deliver blood and other health supplies to clinics and hospitals.Keller Rinaudo revealed that Zipline drones make over 350 flights per day up from between 5 and 10 when the first operations begun in 2016.
On Wednesday, Zipline showed off its next-generation aircraft dubbed the Platform 2 or P2 Zip, which it hopes will make rapid aerial deliveries, this new drone is capable of carrying up to 3.6kg worth of cargo within a ten-mile radius, and can land a package on a space as small as a table or doorstep.
The P2 employs both lift and cruise propellers and a fixed wing. These help it maneuver precisely and quietly, even in rainy or windy weather.
Reacting to whether he would allow his home to be included on the P2 Zip drone delivery list, President Kagame, “Lets make it the first.”
“We are looking at three things coming together, people, technology and the innovations in between to make things work to improve people’s lives,”President Kagame said.
The President explained that with the new P2 Zip drone unveiled, “It starts getting into other profitable and productive areas such as e-commerce. It saves time and money. Universal access to delivery is responding to the needs if we believe we can change things and move as fast as we can to where others are, is serving society well and that is what people really want.”
Zipline is aiming to bring that efficiency to every corner of commerce, the CEO said.