Copenhagen — Medical drone delivery company Zipline's joint initiative with the government of Rwanda was on Friday awarded the 2017 Index Award, Body Category, in the Danish capital Copenhagen.
The Index Awards-often referred to as the Nobel Prize for Design- are the most prestigious awards in the field of design with previous winners including icons such as Apple's Itunes and electric car giant Tesla. The Awards, in five categories, have prize money of up to €500,000.
"Zipline is the first endeavor in world history using drones to deliver blood (and other essential medical supplies). ", the organizers of the Awards said.
"It is the result of a laudable, multi-partner approach featuring Silicon Valley company "Zipline - Lifesaving Deliveries" and the Rwandan Government, whose aim is to put every single one of their 12 million citizens within a 15-35 minute range for delivery of any essential medical product that they could need."
Zipline co-founder Keenan Wyrobek attributed their choice of Rwanda as a partner to the Country standing out "as being data driven in their decision-making process and the most rigorous in how they analyse and manage risk in new projects. These two characteristics define Rwanda's innovative spirit and made Rwanda the obvious launch partner for us".
Rwanda's Ambassador to Denmark with residence in Sweden, Christine Nkulikiyinka, said the award was recognition of the value Rwandans-scarred by the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis-attach to life.
"Thanks to our visionary leadership, every life in Rwanda today matters. The government does all it can to find innovative solutions", she said. "Leapfrogging inefficient systems is the only option we have to achieve our goals", she added.
The Crown Princess of Denmark, HRH Mary was one of many dignitaries attending the awards.
The Index Awards are given in five categories; Body Category, Work Category, The Play & Learning Category, Community Category and People's Choice.
There were 14 finalists in the Body Category won by Zipline.