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Here come the drones... and medicine

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What can drones do?

One company is using them to deliver medicine, rather than dropping bombs or weapons.

Matternet believes drones should be used as a delivery system for people who are in need of medical help.

They're on a mission to deliver medication, food and emergency supplies to those living in inaccessible or mountainous areas.

Matternet's founder Andreas Raptopoulos believes that drones can "redefine how we transport things around us."

Almost 1 billion people in the world live in a place that doesn't have access to all-season roads, he said. During an emergency, these people wouldn't be able to receive help in the fastest time possible.

For instance, in sub-Saharan Africa, 85 per cent of the roads are impassable during the rainy season.

Matternet sees a future where blood tests, tuberculosis and HIV diagnostics could be transported in the most efficient way without requiring for people to travel almost a day to use the various services.

Last month Matternet was invited to Bhutan by the World Health Organization to help create the same network for its citizens.

Bhutan has only 0.3 physicians per 1,000 people. The country's 31 hospitals, 178 basic health unit clinics and 654 outreach clinics serve over 700,000 people.

Photos: Facebook

As a trial, Matternet used the drones to fly supplies from Bhutan's main hospital in Thimphu (the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital) to three small rural healthcare units.

To date, it has completed over 100 missions in five countries in all kinds of terrain and weather conditions. 

Andreas emphasised the importance of using the drones for a good cause.

"If you succeed," he says, "you're going to be saving somebody's life."

Sources: Virgin Unite, Tech Crunch, Facebook