According to UNICEF, drones are coming into wider use in emergencies because of their ability to transport “temperature-sensitive cargo, restock essential medicines and supplies, and deliver life-saving emergency items in humanitarian contexts.” Their unique mobility suits them to vaccine delivery in remote communities and for aerial imaging for disaster response and preparation. Here are some numbers on how their use is being explored:
Malawi has developed the world’s largest “test corridor” for testing drone use in emergencies; it covers roughly 2000 sq mi (or over 5000 sq km), allowing tests up to 400 m above ground.
Following the 2016 announcement of the corridor project, 12 NGOs, universities, and companies applied to use it.
The Republic of Vanuatu, comprised of 83 islands, is working with UNICEF to test drones for delivering vaccines kept at temperatures between 35 to 46°F (2 to 8°C).
A one-month-old baby in Vanuatu was the world’s first to receive a vaccine delivered commercially by a drone. One in 5 children misses their childhood vaccines in Vanuatu.
A drone traveled 25 mi (40 km) over rugged mountains to deliver vaccines for 13 children and 5 pregnant women.
The UNICEF Innovation Fund seeks to make up to $100K equity-free investments to finance for-profit start-ups that can use drones to benefit humanity.
– Source: UNICEF