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To many of us, drones delivering commercial goods is a not so far off distant future. In reality, it’s already happening. Drones, developed by Zipline, are currently launching like fighter jets off aircraft carriers, drop packages like paratroopers gliding down on customers’ homes, and “land” by running into an aerial arrestor hook. Now they’re also delivering vital medication from health management organizations to homes, pharmacies, and hospitals in a 7,800 square mile area in North Carolina.
All in, the company says, as little as 15 minutes, and while dumping 98% fewer harmful emissions into the air we breathe than ground-based car or truck delivery. This is truly an incredible technological development that might come to our aid not only for our own purchases but also for urgent medical care.
Forbes.com reports that while many drone delivery projects work with traditional quadcopter drones, Zipline’s drones are fixed-wing aircraft, making them much more efficient and able to fly farther. To get aloft without a mini airport, they’re launched via a small catapult that can be placed on a roof. Rather than landing to deliver cargo, they release a small parachute delivery system, lofting the payload to a waiting customer, and instead of requiring a runway to land on back at home base, they essentially run into an aerial arrestor wire at low speed, are caught, captured, and brought safely to rest for an attendant to restock and, if necessary, refuel.
Interested in learning more about innovation in autonomous and robotic systems? Attend AUS&R 2022 Conference and Exhibition on unmanned systems, robotics, and smart mobility on July 13, 2022, at Expo Tel Aviv.