Zipline’s delivery drones may be fastest and most capable in the world.
In 1993, the state of Alabama was hit by a winter superstorm. Called on its Wikipedia page “the storm of the century,” the infamous Blizzard of ’93 as it’s called was essentially a hurricane that dropped snow and freezing rain on the state. The end result was several feet of snow piled up in a state that rarely sees more than a dusting, all landing on the area at a time when the residents are usually preparing for spring planting.
Some of the hardest hit residents were those who relied on specific foods, medications, or other necessary medical supplies, especially those that cannot be stockpiled for financial or legal reasons. But one company is at work to ensure that scenario doesn’t harm some of the most medically fragile people in a crisis.
Fast and lasts
According to Wired magazine, Zipline’s delivery drones may very well be the fastest, most capable drones in the world. With the ability to reach speeds around 80 miles per hour and travel up to 100 miles on a charge, they’re still able to carry almost four pounds… so far. The company’s test site is operating, but the drones themselves aren’t yet in commercial delivery operation.
Life and death
But those speeds, distance, and payload capability can make a world of difference when lives are at stake. Once bans on lack of line-of-sight commercial operation are lifted, companies like Zipline could serve as a crisis response plan, one that could be contracted to cities around the country for times of disasters.
Amazon first planted the image in our minds of a commercial delivery drone with its attempts at Prime Air, but that was shot down by pushed-through regulations in the federal government. As recently as last month, though, Amazon began retesting delivery drones, hopefully to come to a market near consumers soon. It would certainly save the US Post Office a lot of money, wouldn’t it?