Cargo drones in humanitarian action

This project was finalised.

How cargo drones could help our operations?

In 2017 we did a research on cargo drones that included market analysis, interview with Operations staff in the Operation Centre Paris (OCP) and scenario modelling. We tried to understand if there is a case for the use of cargo drones in humanitarian action and if so what this could be the case. The findings highlighted that cargo drones could help in overcoming some transportation challenges at last mile delivery that are related to:

  • Lack of roads or bad road conditions;
  • Lack of local availability of vehicles;
  • Rainy season (causing six-month floods);
  • Refusal of access by military or government;
  • Security issues;

MSF Operations staff identified several scenarios where cargo drones could be used to improve our activities such as:


The aim of this qualitative study was to evaluate the business cases for cargo drones in humanitarian action.

Progress so far

The final report of Evaluation of the Business Cases for Cargo Drones in Humanitarian Action was created. While initially the general needs in terms of transportation and the perspectives inside MSF were investigated, the study discussed the feasibility and identified potential business cases as well as the critical factors for the use of cargo drones.

In the end, specific MSF programmes for a potential realisation were identified and specific cargo drone models were conceptualised.

MSF Operational Centre Paris, MSF Logistique

Last update: August 2017


MSF Japan Innovation Team

MSF Japan Innovation Team is providing innovative ideas of solutions to the MSF activities. If you, either as a company or as a professional, have an idea that would be beneficial to our projects as well as patients, please contact us. Your innovative proposal is always appreciated.