Drones have penetrated industries—including service delivery and health care—allowing their global market value to reach $17 billion by 2024. To date, different companies that provide services using the technological prowess of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are beginning to create a bold impact as well—including the existence of Zipline drone delivery.
Focusing on the delivery service industry, Zipline is a drone delivery startup located in Silicon Valley—which is a global center for high technology, social media, innovation, and venture capital. Known for its initial blood and drug delivery projects in Rwanda and Tanzania last year, Zipline plans to do even more after it launched a new breed of delivery drones.
Reports suggested that the new commercial delivery drones are a step up to their predecessors as the UAVs have the ability to deliver faster and farther, all the while carrying more items. The latest drones can also withstand circumstances, such as rain, high altitude and strong winds.
When Zipline started its drone delivery ventures, the Silicon Valley-based company only had one thing in mind: to provide medical assistance to locations that are difficult to reach.
According to Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo, “Billions of people on earth lack access to critical medicine. In East Africa, Zipline’s drones bring people the medicine they need, when they need it in a way that reduces waste, cost, and inventory while increasing access and saving lives. We’ve been hard at work to improve our technology and are ready to help save lives in America and around the world.”
Zipline Drone Delivery: A New System and New Aircraft
The operations of Zipline drone delivery in Rwanda and Tanzania were successful because the drones were able to deliver 7,000 blood pints and drugs for more than 4,000 flights. The drone delivery startup also covered more than 300,000 square miles. This time around, people expect that Zipline drones will make 500 flights every day. Because of the improvements made on the delivery drones, they could now distribute across a bigger location.
After their blood delivery projects in Rwanda and Tanzania, Zipline has undergone a complete redesign of its logistics system. This process allowed the company to innovate the delivery drones even more. The system change was able to improve the drone’s launch, self-directed flight and landing abilities. The change in the system also allows Zipline to save more lives because of a faster medicine delivery.
The new breed of Zipline drone delivery UAVs have the following capabilities:
- Carry 1.75 kilograms
- Fly at a top speed of 128 kilometers per hour
- Can do a roundtrip service of 160 kilometers per hour
Rinaudo said, “Our first generation aircraft and logistics system allowed us to create the first and only drone delivery service in the world, which is helping to save lives in Rwanda every day. We have taken everything Zipline has learned making thousands of life-critical deliveries and flying hundreds of thousands of kilometers and redesigned our entire system and operation from top to bottom. The new aircraft and distribution center system we’re unveiling today will help Zipline scale to meet the needs of countries around the world—including the United States.”
Trying Their Luck in The United States
Due to the complicated rules and regulations of commercial drone delivery in the United States, Zipline was unable to introduce their service in its first year. However, because of some slight changes in the laws concerning flying drones, the fixed-wing drones of Zipline might have a chance to cruise the skies of America. Zipline, being the world’s first and only national scale drone delivery system, is currently collaborating with state governments around the USA. They want to present their medical drone delivery as part of the UAS Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP) of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The program will be an arrangement among states and private drone operators that want to examine drone services, like beyond-line-of-sight-operations or the BLOS.
This year, the Silicon Valley-based startup also plans to exhibit its medical product delivery in rural and suburban places in the country.
Companies Giving Zipline a Run for Its Money
Zipline is not the only company that plans to highlight its Zipline drone delivery service in the United States. The following are some companies who are also using drones to venture into the delivery service industry:
- Amazon – The Washington-based company is an online retail platform that markets household appliances, electronic products, apparels and even books. Considering that it has a projected revenue of $177.9 billion, Amazon can undeniably be successful in its drone delivery service. Amazon is currently analyzing its Prime Air drone delivery service in the United Kingdom. Jeffrey P. Bezos is the CEO of the said company.
- Alphabet – Who would have thought that a conglomerate company was going to get its hands on the growing industry of drone delivery? Larry Page, the CEO of Alphabet, is delighted with their new venture. The company’s x lab utilizes its UAVs in order to deliver burritos and pharmaceuticals in a pilot project in Australia.
Many people have now recognized the bold idea of Zipline to become an innovative medium for health care. With its newly developed breed of fixed-wing drones, Zipline could surely create a bold impact in not just one particular location but also around the globe.