We have previously featured game-changing medical delivery service Zipline, as they have been taking on hard-to-navigate terrains in underdeveloped nations in order to deliver blood and other medical supplies in the most rapid way possible, via drone. At last count, Zipline was responsible for delivering 20% of Rwanda's national blood supply, and now the company is setting their sites on the American market, and it intends to take advantage of the fastest delivery drone known to man in doing so.
Pending FAA approval, testing of a wider array of drones in American airspace is expected to be given a green light in the next month or so. If and when that green light becomes reality, Zipline is expected to be ahead of most of its competitors, a fact that can be attributed to proven systems already employed and tested successfully in Africa and other nations.
This is the fastest autonomous vehicle providing logistics services in the world, and it's also going to be the fastest service, says Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo. Today we deliver about 20 to 25 percent of the national blood supply of the country (in Rwanda) outside of the capital, says Rinaudo, the equivalent of 7,000 bags of blood, delivered over 4,000 flights.
Zipline's autonomous, fixed-wing drones are among the fastest in the world, and the company claims that their delivery drones outpace models of their competitors in terms of speed, topping out at 75-80 mph. They can fly approximately 99 miles per round-trip, carrying a payload of four pounds throughout. All of these measurables, combined with its ease of deployment and ability avoid car-traffic make it abundantly clear why such a service is invaluable in any country, including the United States.
Basing off of its prior experience and preparing for the days when drone flight will be less restricted, the California-based company has upgraded its facilities from what was once only a series of retrofitted cargo containers. Their improved systems mean that the time it takes to get a drone into the air once a delivery order is put in has been reduced from ten minutes to just one, an astonishingly low ground-to-air time that, considering the nature of this drone delivery service, could prove life saving in more than one case. Considering the great demand that comes with establishing a drone delivery service in the medical field, it's comforting that Zipline has such a head-start in testing and tweaking its product and logistics.
There are a lot of challenges, said Keenan Wyrobek, founder of Zipline. You have to be a great aerospace company. To fly in all weather, to do it over people, and to do that responsibly, you have to have a very reliable technology and operation.