Zipline (drone delivery)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Zipline
IndustryLogistics
GenreDelivery drone
Founded2014
FounderKeller Rinaudo, Keenan Wyrobek
HeadquartersSouth San Francisco, California,
United States
Area served
Rwanda, Ghana, US
Number of employees
200 - 500
Websiteflyzipline.com

Zipline is an American medical product delivery company that is headquartered in South San Francisco, California, and designs, manufactures, and operates delivery drones. The company operates distribution centers in Rwanda, Ghana, and the US. As of February 2021, its drones have flown more than 4,000,000 miles and made nearly 400,000 deliveries in the last five years.[1]

The company's drones deliver whole blood, platelets, frozen plasma, and cryoprecipitate along with over 220 medical products, including vaccines, infusions and routine medical commodities. As of September 2021, more than 75% of blood deliveries in Rwanda outside of Kigali use Zipline drones. In April 2019 in Ghana, the company began using drones to deliver vaccines, blood, and medicines. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted a Part 107 waiver to Zipline's partner organization Novant Health for the delivery of medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical facilities in North Carolina.

Along with nine other drone delivery companies, the FAA selected Zipline to participate in a type certification program for delivery drones.[2]

History[edit]

In 2011, Keller Rinaudo founded Romotive, which produced an iPhone-controlled robotic toy called Romo.[3] In 2014, Romotive shut down[4] and the company focused on delivering medical supplies using drones. Co-founders Keenan Wyrobek and William Hetzler joined at this time.[5]

In 2016, Zipline signed a deal with the Rwandan government to build a distribution center near Muhanga.[5] The distribution site opened later that year and was inaugurated in a ceremony with Rwandan president Paul Kagame.[citation needed]

In April 2018, Zipline announced a second-generation drone,[6] which was listed in Time's "Best inventions of 2018" list.[7] In April 2019, Zipline opened the first of its four planned distribution centers in Ghana to supply 2,500 health facilities.[8] The fourth Ghanaian distribution center became operational in June 2020.[9]

In May 2019, Zipline raised $190 million on a post-money valuation of $1.2 billion.[10]In September 2019, musician Bono joined the board.[11] According to Rinaudo: "Rural healthcare is a challenge in every country in the world, including in the United States ... You now see much bigger and wealthier countries like the US using Rwanda as a role model."[12] Zipline was named CNBC's 2018 (25th place), 2019 (39th place), and 2020 (7th place)[13] on its Disruptor 50 list.[14]

In November 2020, Zipline along with other manufacturers started undergoing airworthiness certification with the FAA that would allow their "Sparrow" model of plane to fly in the US.[15][16] The following February, Zipline announced it was adding ultra-low temperature freezers to their distribution centers to allow them to deliver temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccines[17]

In May 2021, Bloomberg reported Zipline would be delivering vaccines to Cross River State and Northern Kaduna State in Nigeria.[18] The following month, Zipline raised $250 million in new funding at a valuation of $2.75 billion.[19]

Operation[edit]

The company designs and manufactures its drones,[20] and builds and operates its own distribution centers, which also serve as a drone airport.[21] Medical staff at remote hospitals and clinics place orders with Zipline,[22] a fulfillment operator receives this order and prepares the medical products into a special delivery package with a parachute.[21].

A Zipline flight operator then packs the medical products into a drone and performs pre-flight checks. The drone is then launched with a supercapacitor-powered electric catapult launcher and accelerates to 0 to 70 miles per hour (0 to 113 km/h) in 0.33 seconds.[21] The drone then flies itself to its delivery site while a remote pilot at each distribution center monitors all drones in flight.[23] [21] The drone descends to 20–35 metres (66–115 ft) before dropping the package under a paper parachute. A payload can land within a 5 m (16 ft) diameter landing zone.[5] The drone then returns to the distribution center and lands by catching an arresting gear.[24] [25] [26] A Zipline distribution center can deliver medical supplies reliably anywhere within 80 km (50 mi), even accounting for mountainous terrain and severe weather.

Drone specifications[edit]

The drone cruises at 101 km/h (63 mph) at an altitude of 80–120 metres (260–390 ft) above ground level, ensuring deliveries are made within 45 minutes[25] . The drone can carry up to 1.75 kilograms (3.9 lb) of cargo.[25] Each distribution center is capable of making 500 deliveries per day.[27] Zipline holds the record for the longest-range US-based commercial drone delivery flight of 79 mi (127 km)[28]

The drones have a quickly-replaceable battery that allows rapid turnaround between flights.[21] It has an inner carbon-fiber frame and an outer polystyrene shell.[21] The wingspan is 12 feet (3.7 m).[21]

The drones have two propellers for redundancy and can fly safely on a single propeller or motor. A parachute that will bring the drone to the ground can be deployed if a larger set of faults occur.[29] If the drone crashes, the outer components are frangible, breaking to release energy[30] and impact the ground with less force.[31]

Locations[edit]

Ghana[edit]

Zipline operates four distribution centers in Ghana.[32] In April 2019, Ghana's president Nana Akufo-Addo announced the opening of a distribution center. [33] Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia launched the first Zipline drone to Tafo Hospital on April 24, 2019. This first delivery contained yellow fever vaccines to prevent stock-out.[34] The drones will serve 500 health facilities within an 80 km (50 mi) range. [34] The company has a contract with Ghana to make 600 deliveries a day for four years at the cost of about $12.5 million. [34] Each distribution center will house 30 drones.[35][36]

In June 2019, the company delivered oral rehydration salt (ORS) to treat 113 students of Mangoase Senior High School who were suffering from acute diarrhea. Within 20 minutes, Zipline's drone dispatched 125 doses of ORS.[37]

India[edit]

In September 2019, the government of Maharashtra announced Zipline would deliver emergency medicine throughout the country. The proposed deployment includes the building of 10 distribution centers to serve 120 million people.[38]

Nigeria[edit]

In February 2021, Zipline announced a plan to construct three distribution centers in Kaduna State, Nigeria.[39] These distribution centers would have ultra-cold storage that is capable of safely storing COVID-19 vaccines, for which health facilities in the state could then place on-demand orders without needing ultra-cold storage of their own. The state also intends to use Zipline's service to transport other health products, including blood, medication, and routine vaccines.

Philippines[edit]

In December 2019, Bono announced Zipline would open three distribution centers in Visayas, Philippines, to cover hard-to-reach areas. [40]

Rwanda[edit]

The company operates two distribution centers in Rwanda [27][25] and began deliveries in Muhanga in late 2016.[5] Rwanda has mountainous geography and poor road conditions, making an aerial delivery system more efficient than the use of land vehicles.[41] The cost of delivery via drone is comparable to that of delivery by road, especially in emergencies. [42] A second drone-launching site was added in December 2018 in Kayonza, in the eastern part of the country.[43][8] The company hoped this would bring coverage to 80% of the country. [44] Kayonza is in a busy area with other flights and military camps, which adds to the challenge of monitoring its drones.[43] As of September 2019, the company had made 20,000 blood deliveries and had flown more than 1,000,000 km (620,000 mi).[8] As of May 2019, more than 65% of blood deliveries in Rwanda outside of the capital city Kigali use Zipline drones. [45]

United States[edit]

Zipline is working with the FAA to develop rules for drone operation beyond the line of sight.[12][46] Between July 30 and September 5, 2019, Zipline partnered with the US and Australian militaries, delivering over 400 mock blood supplies during mass casualty simulations.[47]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the FAA granted a Part 107 waiver to Novant Health in partnership with Zipline for the delivery of medical supplies and personal protective equipment to facilities in North Carolina. The company plans to offer deliveries to homes.[48] In September 2020, announced a trial with Walmart stores to deliver goods in Arkansas starting in 2021.[49]

Distribution center locations[edit]

Location Country Administrative Division Opened Notes
Muhanga Rwanda Southern Province October 13, 2016 Zipline's first production distribution center
Kayonza Rwanda Eastern Province March 1, 2019
Omenako Ghana Eastern Region[50] April 19, 2019
Ashanti Mampong Ghana Ashanti Region[51] October 19, 2019
Vobsi Ghana North East Region[52] December 21, 2019
Kannapolis US North Carolina[53] May 22, 2020
Sefwi Wiawso Ghana Western North Region May 22, 2020
Pune India Maharashtra proposed[27] awaiting approval to fly from DGCAIndia and MoCA_GoI[54]
Nandurbar India Maharashtra proposed[27] awaiting approval to fly from DGCAIndia and MoCA_GoI
Nandurbar India Maharashtra proposed[27] awaiting approval to fly from DGCAIndia and MoCA_GoI
Visayas Philippines proposed[55]
Kachia Nigeria Kaduna State proposed[56]
Kaduna Nigeria Kaduna State proposed[56]
Birnin Gwari Nigeria Kaduna State proposed[56]

Covid-19[edit]

Zipline plans to start transporting COVID-19 vaccines in April, 2021 everywhere its drones currently operate and is adding ultra-cold storage at all of its distribution centers.[1] Clinics should be able to receive vaccine doses at an ultra-low temperature in less than an hour.[1]

Investors[edit]

Zipline raised $233 million by May 2020 and another $250 million in June 2021.[57][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Boudway, Ira (February 4, 2021). "Medical Drone Startup to Begin Covid Vaccine Delivery in April". Bloomberg.
  2. ^ "FAA proposes airworthiness criteria for 10 unmanned aircraft, including operational intent". evtol.com. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  3. ^ Shontell, Alyson. "Meet Romotive: An Ambitious Startup That Blew Our Minds". Business Insider. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  4. ^ "Why Romotive shut down". Simplebotics. February 8, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d Rosen, Jonathan W. (June 8, 2017). "Zipline's Ambitious Medical Drone Delivery in Africa". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  6. ^ Giles, Martin (April 3, 2018). "Zipline launches the world's fastest commercial delivery drone". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  7. ^ Baker, Aryn (December 3, 2018). "TIME's Best Inventions 2018: Lifesaving Delivery Drones: Second-Generation Zipline". Time Magazine. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "Zipline takes flight in Ghana, making it the world's largest drone-delivery network". CNBC. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "Zipline begins drone delivery services in Western North Region". www.ghanaweb.com. June 11, 2020. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Shieber, Jonathan (May 17, 2019). "Zipline's new $190 million funding means it's the newest billion dollar contender in the game of drones". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  11. ^ "Bono is really into drones now (but it's good)". FastCompany. September 12, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "The World's Fastest Drones Want to Save Lives in the US, Too". Wired. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  13. ^ staff, CNBC com (June 16, 2020). "7. Zipline". CNBC. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  14. ^ Margaritoff, Marco (May 24, 2018). "Zipline Has Successfully Aerially Delivered 7,000 Units of Blood to Rwandan Hospitals". The Drive. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  15. ^ "FAA Moving Forward to Enable Safe Integration of Drones". www.faa.gov. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  16. ^ "Airworthiness Criteria: Special Class Airworthiness Criteria for the Zipline International Inc. Zip UAS Sparrow". Federal Register. November 20, 2020. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  17. ^ "Zipline Drones to Deliver COVID-19 Vaccines". Aviation Today. February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  18. ^ Onu, Emele (May 18, 2021). "Nigerian States use drones for vaccination in difficult terrain". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Alamalhodaei, Aria. "Zipline raises $250M at $2.75B valuation to build out its instant logistics service". Techcrunch. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  20. ^ George, Alice Lloyd (December 25, 2017). "Using drones to build the ambulance fleet of the future". TechCrunch. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g Lydgate, Anthony (September 18, 2018). "How Zipline Helps Remote Regions Get Blood From a Drone". Wired. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  22. ^ Murphy, Mike (August 24, 2017). "If you want to see how delivery drones should work, look at Africa". Quartz Africa. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  23. ^ Simmons, Dan (October 14, 2016). "Rwanda starts commercial drone deliveries". BBC News. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  24. ^ "Zipline drones airdrop medical supplies to African villages". TechCrunch. October 13, 2016. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  25. ^ a b c d Ackerman, Evan; Koziol, Michael (April 30, 2019). "In the Air with Zipline's Medical Delivery Drones". IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  26. ^ "r/IAmA - We are engineers and operators from Zipline, the world's only drone delivery service making lifesaving deliveries across Rwanda and Ghana. In the last seven days, our drones flew over 42,000 km, making 525 deliveries. As us anything!". reddit. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  27. ^ a b c d e www.ETHealthworld.com. "Govt of Maharashtra, Zipline and SII announce India's first autonomous instant drone delivery service - ET HealthWorld". ETHealthworld.com. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  28. ^ Trask, Matthew (October 23, 2019). "Zipline partners with the US military to test medical drones". Commercial Drone Professional. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  29. ^ "Zipline begins safety testing of new high-performance drones". Graphic Online. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  30. ^ Wyrobek, Keenan. "Zipline's World Class Drone Safety Features". YouTube.
  31. ^ Muller, Joann. "When it comes to unmanned drones, how safe is safe enough?". Axios. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  32. ^ "Ghana Health Service gives full details of drone health service delivery system". www.ghanaweb.com. December 5, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  33. ^ Bright, Jake. "Drone delivery startup Zipline launches UAV medical program in Ghana". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  34. ^ a b c "An ambitious drone delivery health service in Ghana is tackling key logistics challenges". Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  35. ^ Ackerman, Evan (April 24, 2019). "Zipline Expands Medical Drone-Delivery Service to Ghana". IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  36. ^ Kelland, Kate (April 24, 2019). "Drones to deliver vaccines, blood and drugs across Ghana". Reuters. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  37. ^ "Zipline drone rescues 113 students from acute diarrhoea". ghananewsagency.org. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
  38. ^ www.ETHealthworld.com. "Govt of Maharashtra, Zipline and SII announce India's first autonomous instant drone delivery service - ET HealthWorld". ETHealthworld.com. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  39. ^ George, Libby (February 3, 2021). "Nigeria's Kaduna pairs with Zipline for drone-delivered COVID vaccines". Reuters. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  40. ^ "Bono launches drone delivery service for blood, medicines". The Manila Times. December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  41. ^ "2018 Disruptor 50: No. 25 Zipline International". CNBC. May 22, 2018. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  42. ^ a b Khanna, Tarun (July 1, 2018). "When Technology Gets Ahead of Society". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  43. ^ a b "Inside Zipline's New Rwandan Distribution Centre". Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  44. ^ Okertchiri, Jamila Akweley (November 24, 2018). "From Muhanga to the Rest Of Rwanda; How Zipline Is Providing Smarter Blood Distribution Service". Modern Ghana. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  45. ^ a b c "UPS Foundation supports Ghana's vaccine drone delivery network". May 3, 2019.
  46. ^ "Blood delivery drone applies for US trial". BBC News. April 3, 2018. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  47. ^ Trask, Matthew (October 23, 2019). "Zipline partners with the US military to test medical drones". Commercial Drone Professional. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  48. ^ "Drones deliver medical supplies and PPE in the US". BBC News. May 27, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  49. ^ "Walmart teams up with Zipline to test limited on-demand drone deliveries". finance.yahoo.com. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  50. ^ a b c d "How Zipline medical drone saved a patient: A Clinician's testimony". www.ghanaweb.com. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  51. ^ "Ghana launches second drone delivery base at Asante Mampong". Graphic Online. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  52. ^ "Kukua medical drone delivery centre to serve five Northern Regions - Bawumia". www.ghanaweb.com. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  53. ^ "Zipline Medical Drones Begin Flying in the United States". Bloomberg.com. May 27, 2020. Retrieved February 8, 2021.
  54. ^ "We're ready to begin helping India respond to #COVID19 and saving lives as soon as we receive approval to fly from @DGCAIndia and @MoCA_GoI". Twitter. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  55. ^ "Bono lends star power as US startup begins drone delivery of blood in PH – Newsbytes Philippines". Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  56. ^ a b c Stonor, Chris (February 4, 2021). "Zipline to deliver Covid-19 vaccines in Nigerian state Kaduna". Urban Air Mobility News. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  57. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Shieber, Jonathan. "Zipline's new $190 million funding means it's the newest billion dollar contender in the game of drones". Techcrunch. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  58. ^ a b c d della Cava, Marco (April 4, 2016). "Drone startup backed by Allen, Yang to deliver medical supplies in Rwanda". USA Today. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  59. ^ a b c d "Zipline International: Drones to the rescue". CNBC. May 22, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018. (Updated May 9, 2019.)
  60. ^ "Portfolio". Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  61. ^ "Portfolio holdings". Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  62. ^ "Rise portfolio". Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  63. ^ Petrova, Magdalena; Kolodny, Lora (April 3, 2018). "Zipline's new drone can deliver medical supplies at 79 miles per hour". CNBC. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  64. ^ "Toyota Tsusho Invests in U.S. Zipline International Inc.- Collaboration in Drone Logistics Field -". Retrieved December 13, 2019.