The company Zipline, founded in 2011, is engaged in the development, production and operation of autonomous drones that deliver various goods to remote areas. The company's unmanned service is best known for its services for the urgent delivery of medicines to remote areas of Africa. Yesterday, the company announced its new Platform 2 (P2) system for autonomous delivery to homes in cities and suburbs.
The company's press release states that their next-generation home delivery platform is virtually silent and is expected to be up to 7 times faster than traditional car delivery, delivering over a distance of 16 km in about 10 minutes. And also that they designed the docking and charging equipment in such a way that it takes up little space and can be attached to any building or installed as a free-standing structure. Customers can make orders on demand or plan the exact delivery time of a parcel, up to a second.
The sender places the cargo inside the droid, which is a container with a closed propeller in the tail section. At the docking station, the droid is loaded into one of Zipline's P2 Zip eVTOL drones. After that, he goes on a flight to the destination address, all the time remaining at an altitude of at least 91 m. As soon as the drone reaches its destination, it hovers in place lowering the droid with a winch.
Using a downward-facing camera and other onboard sensors, the droid can determine the target landing zone, for example, the steps in front of the house. The propeller ensures an accurate landing at this point, compensating for factors such as crosswind. When the droid lands, the recipient opens the hatch and picks up his parcel, after which the droid returns to the drone by winch.
It should be noted that the system is limited to loads weighing no more than 3.6 kg, and the service radius of drones is 16 km. At the same time, if they fly from one loading station to another, where you can recharge the battery, the range increases to 39 km.
A number of corporate clients have already subscribed to this service. Michigan Medicine, MultiCare Health System and Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City plan to use it to deliver prescriptions. The Government of Rwanda plans to use it for delivery to homes, hotels and medical facilities. The Sweetgreen grocery store chain also plans to use the service to deliver food to customers' homes.
Zipline plans to conduct large-scale flight tests this year, including more than 10,000 test flights using about 100 drones. The first P2 deployment for clients will follow shortly after.
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