The Blood Line
We’re Looking for the The Blood Line
The year was 2013 and Chinese electronics company DJI had just released its first consumer drone. As a gadget guy, I had to get one. I could attach my GoPro and take some great footage.
But my 2013 gadget wasn’t the first drone to take the public by storm. You could argue that today’s drones lay at the feet of Nikola Tesla, the namesake for Tesla Motors.
It was in 1898 when he showed the world what was possible. Tesla was able to maneuver a tiny boat in pool of water and even flash its lights on and off – all without any visible connection between the boat and the controller.
Many at the demonstration thought it was magic. But others saw it as an instrument of war – newspaper headlines immediately reported that it could be used to make more precise torpedoes.
And those war-minded folks turned out to be correct. Most drone technology evolution over the years has been directly related to conflict.
In 1916, Britain first flew the Aerial Target, a small radio-controlled aircraft that was meant to aid pilots in WWI. And the American aerial torpedo known as the Kettering Bug first flew in 1918.
The use of the word “drone” has its roots in the war effort, too. It was coined from the British radio-controlled target aircraft “The Queen Bee.”
The Queen Bee also inspired the model radio-controlled (RC) airplane industry. When college-age twins Walt and Bill Good read about Queen Bee, they decided to combine their interests in model airplanes and radio. The result, in 1938, was the first successful flight of an RC model plane. They called it “The Guff.”
Wartime drones would go mainstream in the late 1990s when the U.S. military introduced the “Predator.” Though drones had been used for reconnaissance as early as the 1950s, the Predator was the first to become a household name. During the Afghanistan War, drone footage was streamed back onto the American nightly news.
The use of military drones continues today. As the war rages on in Ukraine, drones have been a key resource against the Russian invasion. Even the hobbyist DJI drones are playing a role in the war.
But drones have spread way beyond the front lines. Many are out delivering packages, filming movies, and becoming your next taxi ride.
But one recent drone project caught my attention. It revolved around logistics and delivery. Package delivery is nothing new in the drone conversation. Amazon has been planning this since 2013.
You see, Amazon is trying to solve its “last mile” delivery problem. In logistics, the last mile is often the most complicated – and costly – step of getting a package to its final customer. It takes a lot of effort, and a lot can go wrong. And that’s in well-established cities with great infrastructure.
Take that last-mile problem to the remote cities and towns of Africa – the infrastructure can be so poor or non-existent, those towns might as well be on the moon. That is where a simple concept and the use of a drone helped solve a big problem for the greater good.
In Rwanda, a landlocked country in East Africa, many hospitals have had to rely on a very slow and cumbersome blood supply chain. Getting blood from the transfusion centers out to a remote hospital could take days. And if you were a patient in one of those hospitals, the difference of a few minutes could mean life and death.
Enter the drone!
A company called Zipline looked at this problem and created an on-demand blood delivery system that goes directly from the transfusion centers to the hospitals. The company not only solved the last-mile problem, it skipped the entire route. What was taking days could now take minutes.
But this system is not reserved for delivering blood. Zipline has a fleet of drones that can service the entire region, providing critical medical supplies to remote communities.
For a country like Rwanda, where many communities may have poor infrastructure, a system like Zipline is a game changer. It is saving lives!
An independent report cited many benefits to Zipline’s system. But one that stood out was an 88% reduction in hospital mortality from post-partum hemorrhages. That amounts to saving approximately 50-150 Rwandan mothers per year.
Zipline isn’t a public company at the moment, but this is the kind of “For The Good” thinking we like here at Mangrove Investor. We are keeping our eyes out for opportunities like this in the markets – ones that will allow us to profit while these companies do good for the world.
In the meantime, keep your eyes up. You might see a lifesaving drone near you – or at least one that some guy like me is using to get cool landscape photos.
For The Good,
P.S: Finally, you may recall from my recent Grove Weekly “The Water Dogs,” a group of high school students were about to compete in the Roboboat championships. I want to congratulate this young team on receiving the Judges Award. Well done!
Numbers to Know
The number of drones registered in the U.S. There are actually many more, though –drones under .55 pounds do not need to be registered, and many people fail to register their drones at all. (OpticsMag)
Bigger is not always better. Weighing in at just 18 grams, the Black Hornet pocket-sized drone is designed for deployment in hostile areas. But its tiny size and pack full of technology comes at a price as high as $195,000. (Wikipedia)
The number of drones used to set the record for the most drones in a single aerial light show. High Great, the company responsible of the spectacular Beijing Winter Olympics drone show, set this record. (High Great YouTube)
What’s New in Sustainable Investing
Worldwide drone market expected to hit around $47.4 billion by 2030
The worldwide commercial drone market should be around $47.4 billion by 2030. That’s a compound annual growth of 29% from 2022. (Strategic Market Research)
Asset owners look to AI to fill ESG data gaps
Investors are using AI to get sustainability data on companies, but they acknowledge the need for human oversight. Nevertheless, AI has played a key role in high-profile sustainable investment goals. (AsianInvestors)
Video Of The Week
Top 10 Most Attractive Drone Light Shows in the World
New age fireworks coming to July 4th show near you soon. Check out these arial drone shows.