A few years ago Zipline has created a national delivery system through drones for the delivery of blood and medicines in remote health centres in Rwanda. Now the company introduced the world’s fastest drone for commercial delivery of accelerating up to 128 miles per hour.
Zipline is hoping that its new aircraft with a fixed wing, which will be faster and easier to maintain than its predecessors, will help it grab market share, which attracts a lot of big players. Among them, Amazon, which is testing the delivery service Prime Air drones in the UK, and Project Wing, a secret laboratory Alhabet X, which uses their drones to deliver pharmaceuticals and burritos in an experimental pilot project in Australia.
Soon this and other companies will be able to experiment more in America. Next month, the US government will hold a series of agreements between private operators of unmanned aerial vehicles and local organizations who want to test drone services, including “operation beyond line of sight” when drones can’t be seen from the ground control person.
Zipline learned a lot of useful experience in Rwanda, where its UAV flew more than 300 000 kilometers in 4000 flights from October 2016. The company has also started a similar operation in Tanzania.
Keller Rinaudo, CEO of Zipline, said that the African experience inspired him to major revision of the entire logistics system, not just drones. He updated all the distribution centers, where the drones are stored and loaded and also used computer vision technology to aid in pre-flight checks. These and other changes have reduced the time between receiving the order and release the drone in the air with 10 minutes to one.
Optimized system startup and recovery and fast drones mean that Zipline is now able to operate 500 flights per day from one centre — 10 times more than before. The company can boast that its UAV can serve a much larger area than conventional ATVs, shifting to 1.75 kilograms to a distance of 160 kilometers.
A new era of operational delivery started?