The concept of autonomous drone delivery is very old many times it had come in light by the big online shopping giants like Amazon. But till the date, they have not got any markable success in it.
In 2016 a bay area startup in a small African country Rwanda had made this dream possible. zipline drone
- Name of company- Zipline
- CEO- Keller Rinaudo
- Location capital of Rwanda- Kigali
The company is using the newest generation of autonomous aircraft to deliver essential life-saving medicines such as vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and blood too hard to reach places of Rwanda.
Today also many of the developing or underdeveloped countries have poor or non-existing infrastructure. Rwanda is one of them. The country has 14,000 km of the road network but only 2000 km of road is good and rests are uneven dirt roads, in the rainy season it becomes impossible to navigate, but the government is working to improve it. zipline drone
In these situations to full fill, the requirement of any medical supplies becomes impossible to reach on time and also it is very costly for all hospital to maintain the stock of all the medicines or blood etc.
How they met with the challenges
To facilitate these medical requirements Zipline has developed an autonomous drone which can carry up to 1.6 kg of medical supplies each.
The new aircraft is a complete redesign of the Ziplines logistic system, which dramatically improves the system’s launch, autonomous flight, and landing capabilities. It takes just 5 min from launch to deliver the product.
- The aircraft has a removable battery which is always ON and connected to the server to upload the data and also to avoid the initial time taken by drones to configure from GPS.
- All parts of the drone are separate so prior flight check is easy and any damaged parts could be replaced quickly.
- The checking is done by simple mobile app here the camera scans the QR code on each part and sends various commands to the aircraft and computer checks whether it passes the test or fails.
- An aircraft requires very high speed to take off and its a biggest challenge to provide such a high speed in so small plane in less time. But Zipline has come with an amazing concept of launch pad which has a pully and high-speed electric motor, which gives the cruising speed of 1000km/hr just in 0.3s.
- The plane delivers the cargo at the location with a simple small parachute avoiding the cumbersome of landing and take off at health centres, and returns back to its main station.
- The landing and takeoff of the plane only take place at its base station. And clinics need no infrastructure.
- There is a small hook given in the tail of aircraft which grabs the rope between two actuated poles at the time of landing which again gives it short and safe landing capability.
- For safety purpose- Two of everything is is given in plane like 2-motors and 2actuatorss. If all fails for that a parachute is provided for avoiding the crash of drone.
- The total weight of the drone is 6.4 kg and the wings wt is 2 kg.
- The heaviest part of this drone is the battery which is 1/2 of the total weight and have power- 1.25kwh.
What are the future prospects of Zipline drone
Zipline is working with state governments across the country to launch its medical drone delivery as a part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) recently announced the UAS Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP). The FAA created the UASIPP as an opportunity for state, local, and tribal governments to partner with the private sector to accelerate the development and deployment of safe commercial drone innovation in the country.
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If you are interested in such topics you can read my other blog on Turbine developed by Japanese engineers will generate electricity from sea waves.