Zipline Launches World’s Fastest Delivery Drone
Zipline, the Bay Area-based startup that has been flying delivery drones in Rwanda since October 2016, announced yesterday that it’s launching a new fleet of drones that it says are likely the fastest in the world.
Are you wondering how fast the drone can go? The Zip 2 can travel at a top speed around 79 miles per hour, carrying 3.85 pounds of cargo. That’s fast enough to get a unit of blood to a hospital that’s out of stock within 15 to 30 minutes almost anywhere in Rwanda.
Zipline’s drones may look like airplanes, but they don’t need runways.
The company has also changed their logistics system. New changes have reduced the time from receipt of an order to the launch of a fulfillment flight from 10 minutes to one minute.
“Zipline’s first generation planes allowed them to work well in Rwanda, a physically small country, but the new one can be scaled globally,” said Zipline investor Paul Willard. The investor, a former Boeing aerodynamics engineer, explained that the Zip 2 design lets it go a long way off a single charge, giving it an advantage versus other drones or planes.
The company announced in August that it planned to expand into neighboring Tanzania, and Rinaudo has discussed the possibility of moving into even larger, more populated countries, including the US.
The start-up will start making deliveries in the U.S. this year as a part of an FAA pilot program for drone businesses. Once Zipline establishes a base in the U.S., the company’s CTO confirmed, it should be able to make deliveries within a half hour (or less) to people in a defined service area. One service area would have a 99-mile diameter and encompass a population of about 10 million people.
What do you think about drone deliveries?