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This ‘Droneport’ Is Designed to Save Lives in Rural Rwanda

The drones will carry life-saving supplies to regions with poor infrastructure.

via Foster + Partners

A proposed project could make Rwanda the first country with an operating “droneport”. Yes, that’s an airport for drones. Its designers say the unmanned aircraft would carry food, blood, and other vital supplies to infrastructure-challenged regions that sorely need them.

A 2010 World Bank report found that the African continent’s roads have improved by leaps and bounds since the mid-1990’s. Rwanda in particular has spent time and money to reform its road funding structure. Still, just one-third of Africa’s rural inhabitants live within 2 kilometers (or 1.2 miles) of an all-season road. That’s particularly worrying on a continent with an estimated 180 million cases of malaria each year—a deadly disease that can be treated with medicine and blood transfusions.

That’s where the drones come in. The specialized aircraft housed in Rwanda’s droneport could deliver supplies throughout a 100 kilometer (62 mile) radius, without the costs and fuel emissions associated with trucks and cars.

Foster + Partners is working with the university and technology consortium Red Line to design medical drones (left) and supply drones (right). Via Foster + Partners

The project is slated to begin in 2016 and completed by 2020. But its architects say they plan to build up to 40 droneports all over Rwanda, making drones as ubiquitous and integral to the infrastructure system as gas stations are today.

“The droneport project is about doing ‘more with less,’” says Norman Foster, the chair of the architecture and design firm Foster + Partners. It will “[capitalize] on the recent advancements in drone technology—something that is usually associated with war and hostilities—to make an immediate life-saving impact in Africa.”

via Foster + Partners

A view of the proposed droneport from the village that would host it, via Foster + Partners

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