Drone enabled Delivery of Medicines and Disaster Relief Supplies | | Drone Startup Ideas

This 1001 startup Idea from YoStartups is to create a platform for Drone enabled Delivery – Medicines & Disaster Relief SuppliesThe service will help in getting quicker access to essential medicines, life-saving healthcare, and disaster relief operations by deploying GPS enabled drones in areas, which are often poorly accessible due to bad roads, and mainland connectivity.


Market Definition for 1001 Startup Ideas – Drone enabled Delivery – Medicines & Disaster Relief Supplies


According to the World Healthcare Organization, about 1.3 billion to 2.1 billion people in the world do not have access to essential medicines as they are not connected to existing road networks and are living in hard to reach places. Various reports indicate that almost as much of 85% of roads are not accessible in the rainy season in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Also, the extreme weather conditions in some cities offer a very short window for construction of roads, and building infrastructure is a time-consuming process. Although drones cannot replace the convenience of connectivity offered by roads, they can provide on-demand quick to deploy drone-based solutions presenting a cheaper last mile delivery solution to areas inaccessible by roads.


Competitor Analysis for 1001 Startup Ideas – Drone enabled Delivery – Medicines & Disaster Relief Supplies



Zipline has created Zip, a small robot airplane designed to drop off vaccines, medicine, or blood by parachuting them. The startup is currently operational in Rwanda and is delivering blood to 21 blood transfusion facilities as per the demand through text message interface, USSD, and Whatsapp. They are working with the government of Rwanda to ensure that they comply with local flight regulations and medical standards for carrying blood. Their drone bases are equipped with lightning protection system to operate in rainy seasons in Rwanda.


Flirtey is the first FAA-approved urban drone delivery system, which customers use an app to order, food and over the counter medication. The items are then loaded into a container and delivered through a drone to the customer’s home in less than 10 minutes. The app sends a notification to the customers at the onset of every event in the delivery process. They have completed pilots with 7-Eleven in the USA, Domino’s Pizza in New Zealand and Zookal’s book sale in Australia.

DelivAir UK

DelivAir drone uses GPS to locate a person via their smartphone, and then uses optical tracking and a 3D imaging and ranging system to identify and authenticate the person receiving the package. It uses the coded pattern on the phone flashlight to deliver the package through a winch in the hands of the person and returns to the base.


Pain point and Target Audience for 1001 Startup Ideas – Drone enabled Delivery –  Medicines & Disaster Relief Supplies


Across the developing world, access to lifesaving and critical drugs and other items is hampered by the last-mile delivery problem: the inability to deliver needed medicine from a city to rural or remote locations due to lack of adequate transportation options, communication, and supply chain infrastructure.

The current models of disaster relief, where food and essential supplies are just air-dropped in the disaster-affected areas do not ensure 100% percent coverage for all affected people as packets might land in locations where they might not be critically needed or are practically inaccessible.

That target audience for this startup idea can be the Hospitals, Diagnostic centers, Primary Healthcare centers, Disaster Relief authorities or any other organizations that need a connection to the mainland for critical service delivery.


Value Proposition for 1001 Startup Ideas – Drone enabled Delivery – Medicines & Disaster Relief Supplies


Drone-based solutions can provide on-demand pay as you go solutions which can be built and operate at a fraction of the cost. Matternet estimated that the cost of transporting a 2kg package over 10 km using drone was just 24 cents, making it an economic solution as well.

Drones are quick to deploy in any situations, can be made modular to handle different types of packages; can make multiple trips without fatigue. Drones can also use optical tracking and image processing to deliver goods directly into the hands of the people affected by the disaster.

The Drones can also wholly bypass traffic gridlocks and congestion, reducing the transit time for critical goods. Drones also eliminate human transporters and reduce the number of vehicles on the road used for transport services. They also free up workforce to be utilized for other productive jobs.


Business Model for 1001 Startup Ideas – Drone enabled Delivery  – Medicines & Disaster Relief Supplies


The proposed business model for this startup idea by YoStartups can work on two revenue models;

1. The startup can run it as Drones as A Service (DRAAS), where the start-up will charge a one-time implementation fee for onboarding the client. Once the onboarding is through, the startup can charge the client for the number of flight–hours just like any other commercial airline service.

2. In the second model, the startup can develop the complete end-to-end Drones Logistic system and sell it to Logistics providers who can run the drones on their own. The start-up will only charge for the subscription to the cloud-based software required running the drones.


Way to Market for 1001 Startup Ideas – Drone enabled Delivery  – Medicines & Disaster Relief Supplies


The Way to market for this startup idea from YoStartups is that the startup can pick off-the-shelve drones from companies like DJI and JD.com and customize it to the end-user requirements.

After making all the necessary modifications to the drones and the other hardware, the start-up will have to build a cloud-based software which can be used to plan flight maps and for flight tracking. As these drones will be designed primarily to work in all weather and all terrain conditions, the software should be designed in a way to accept orders and request from all communication interfaces like SMS, USSD, WhatsApp, Web and Mobile apps and phone calls.

Once the hardware and software are integrated together, the startup will have to run a pilot with end-users like Hospitals, Diagnostic centers, Primary Healthcare centers, Disaster Relief Authorities.


Key Milestones for 1001 Startup Ideas – Drone enabled Delivery – Medicines & Disaster Relief Supplies


Within the first quarter of launching the startup, the startup will have to work with the local government to ensure that the drones meet all the local flight regulations and medical standards for package handling.

The second and third quarter will be for building and testing front-end applications that can handle pick-up and delivery request from multiple interfaces like mobile phones, IVRS, USSD and messaging services like SMS and WhatsApp. The software should also be able to schedule drone delivery and pickups and access control mechanisms for the customer to pick up their consignment on delivery.

The fourth quarter can be utilized to run pilots with logistics service providers, hospitals, Hospitals, Diagnostic centers, Primary Healthcare centers, Disaster Relief Authorities, who will be the ultimate end users. Once the pilot program is complete, the startup can launch the final product commercially.


Investment needed for Prototyping of 1001 Startup Ideas – Drone enabled Delivery – Medicines & Disaster Relief Supplies


The proposed startup can raise upto 120K from drones focused accelerators like Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator powered by TechStars, Reimagine Drone, or Pitney Bowes Accelerator. The startup can also approach logistic providers like UPS, FedEx, etc. for prototyping and to refine the business model. All the funds raised will be for prototyping hardware and software only. No funds should be apportioned to salary or office rentals.


Team Capability for 1001 Startup Ideas – Drone enabled Delivery – Medicines & Disaster Relief Supplies


The team will comprise of 3 main core members experienced in developing the software and hardware required for running the flight operations smoothly.

They will need a full stack software engineer to code the front-end software on React and Angular with experience on Phyton and SQL. The front end will have to be designed to work with multiple interfaces like SMS, USSD, WhatsApp, Web and Mobile apps.

Hardware engineer who can program, design, and test the all-weather, all-terrain drones with the compatible software. Strong knowledge of motor drives, advanced batteries, and servomechanism preferred.

A software engineer who can design flight paths to avoid obstacles, design behavioral pattern algorithms and use big data to ensure the accuracy of the flight trajectory. The team can use the GPS triangulation method to locate that the location of the phone with the help of nearest cell phone tower and the telecom operator. The unit can also use optical tracking and 3D image processing to make the deliveries more precise.

Care should be taken by the team to ensure that the final product is safe to use autonomously and robust enough to avoid any possible catastrophes.


Investors/Expert Take for 1001 Startup Ideas – Drone enabled Delivery -Medicines & Disaster Relief Supplies


Drones are slowly finding ways to be more useful in our day-to-day life despite all the controversies surrounding them. The costs to operate drones are coming down as adoption rates are growing steadily due to applications in e-commerce, agriculture, aerial mapping, surveillance and the most crucial humanitarian aid.

Zipline, a Californian Company with a funding of $1.1 million from UPS foundation and the expertise of Gavi, the vaccine alliance, and UPS’s extensive global supply chain network, the company aims to start expansion internationally.

Similar efforts involving organizations such as UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders, as well as the companies Matternet and Vayu, are already underway in Malawi, Madagascar, and Papua New Guinea.

The most significant entry barrier still would be that the number of places where drones can fly is limited, however with Flirtey in the USA, Matternet in Switzerland and Zipline in Rwanda getting a nod from the aviation agencies, the future looks bright for drone deliveries.


In case you are looking at scaling or launching  a venture on similar lines, you can apply for our virtual acceleration program Excelrate on our website, Yostartups.com, Yostartups’ Excelrate program will help you in streamlining and structuring your startup idea. We have limited scholarships and discount packs for deserving startups, depending on the strength of your application, you may qualify for a discount.


Tarun Kumar

YoStartups is a Pre Accelerator and it empowers entrepreneurs to propel their business ideas into successful ventures. Yostartups’ core mission is to take the message of entrepreneurship to 1 billion people globally by 2020, as on date Yostartups reaches out to over 100 million people globally through its direct and indirect channels.


*Any information given in the article does not constitute any warranty of marketability or fitness for a particular business idea for any market or industry segment. It is the readers’ sole responsibility to further research and assess the market opportunity.
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