Zipline reported the introduction of its newest generation of autonomous aircrafts which “flies farther, faster and with more cargo than was ever before possible— even in high altitude, heavy wind, or rain,” as quoted form their release.
The company earlier showcased some of this technology, but now they are introducing their faster, new drone models that cab travel up to 80 mph, starting from 68 mph. It also includes an upgraded delivery system, which is equipped to manage 500 flights a day. The company is also offering a first look at how it grabs each drone out of the air when a journey has been completed.
Zipline’s new delivery vehicle is an autonomous, fixed-wing aircraft. The drone is capable of flying at a top speed of 128 km/h and a cruising speed of 101 km/h – 21 km/h faster than the previous generation of the company’s aircraft – with a round-trip range of 160 kilometers carrying up to 1.75 kilos of cargo. The new aircraft is also capable of flying four times faster than the average quadcopter and can serve an area 200 times as large.
The delivery drones can deliver medical supplies quickly up to 50 miles away when roads are flooded or clinics are on an island. That’s why Zipline founder and engineering chief Keenan Wyrobek thinks the drones will come to the US, too.
It’s still not clear what our drone delivery future holds. It could bring instant gratification to e-commerce and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But it also would introduce new safety risks to aircraft and any of us underneath — especially in areas dense with people and drones. No wonder regulators are proceeding cautiously.