With fastest delivery drone in world, Zipline eyes US market

By Luke Geiver | April 07, 2018

A Silicon Valley-based drone developer believes it has created the fastest drone delivery system in the world. Based on a fixed-wing design, Zipline’s unmanned aircraft vehicle can reach speeds of 80 miles per hour. The company has tested and flown the unit multiple times during its delivery of medicine and supplies to rural areas of Africa, specifically Rwanda.  

The new system is capable of flying four times faster than an average quadcopter style drone and serve an area 200 times larger, according to the company.

“We’ve 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 will help Zipline scale to meet the needs of countries around the world—including the United States,” said CEO Keller Rinaudo.

In the U.S. Zipline is working to launch a medical drone delivery system through the FAA’s pilot program. Zipline expects to be chosen as a project participant and could be commencing on a project by the end of the year.

“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,” Keller said.

In addition to plans to expand its service to the United States later this year, Zipline announced in August of 2017 plans to launch the world’s most extensive drone delivery service in Tanzania to provide emergency on-demand access to critical and life-saving medicines. Zipline and the government of Tanzania plan to use drone delivery for blood transfusion supplies, emergency vaccines, HIV medications, antimalarials, antibiotics, lab reagents, and basic surgical supplies.