Zipline, a drone-based logistics business in Davis, California, outpaced FedEx and Amazon to bring the first high-speed delivery drones to market in 2016. The company is now making another splash with announcements of the Zip 2, its new delivery drone capable of traveling 79 mph carrying almost 4 pounds of cargo.
Originally composed of tech engineers from Google, Space X, Boeing, among others, the company was started in 2011 to create positive social change. Zip 1, the first generation of the Zipline high-speed delivery drone, was used to deliver blood and other life-saving medical supplies to hospitals around Rwanda, according to the company. By 2016, the drones were also being tested in commercial applications and became market-ready after the release of the next-generation Zip 2 last year.
CNBC reports that Zipline drones have flown over 186,000 miles and more than 4,000 deliveries; the Zip 2 will cover a 99 mile diameter serving as many as 10 million people while traveling at up to 79 miles per hour with 3.85 pounds of cargo. The Zip 2 would hope to guarantee all packages in under 30 minutes to customers in the delivery zone.
Paul Willard, a Zipline investor interviewed by CNBC, said, “Zipline’s first generation planes allowed them to work well in Rwanda, a physically small country, but the new one can be scaled globally.” The former Boeing aerodynamics engineer continued to sau that the new generation outperforms other delivery planes and drones through improved life on a single charge.
Zipline must still undergo a trial period with the Federal Avionics Agency, whom are looking to use Zipline as a indicator for the future of high-speed drone delivery.