Zipline unveils P2, a high-tech, autonomous delivery drone  

Zipline home delivery drone, the company's latest product set to transform the world of delivery. PHOTO/Zipline.
Zipline home delivery drone, the company's latest product set to transform the world of delivery. PHOTO/Zipline.

Zipline, the world’s largest autonomous delivery system, specializing in on-demand drone delivery and instant logistics, has unveiled its new platform that provides quiet, fast, and precise autonomous delivery directly to homes in cities and suburbs. The droid was revealed on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

The company’s next-generation home delivery platform is practically silent and is expected to deliver up to 7 times as fast as traditional automobile delivery, completing 10-mile deliveries in about 10 minutes. 

Zipline has spent the last several years building and fine-tuning its next-generation technology, Platform 2 (P2), to provide an optimal customer experience at scale.

Zipline’s drones, commonly referred to as Zips, fly more than 300 feet above the ground and are nearly inaudible.


When the Zip arrives at its destination, it hovers safely and quietly at that altitude while its fully autonomous delivery droid maneuvers down a tether, steers to the correct location, and gently drops off its package to areas as small as a patio table or the front steps of a home. 

This is all made possible through major innovations in aircraft and propeller design. 

Several businesses across the healthcare and restaurant sectors have already signed on to use Zipline’s new home delivery service.

For instance, Sweetgreen is partnering with Zipline to further its mission of connecting people to real food in the US while moving a step closer to its pledge to be carbon-neutral by 2027. 

By ordering through Zipline’s marketplace, Sweetgreen customers can get their orders using 97% less energy than traditional automotive methods. 

Sweetgreen Co-Founder and CEO Jonathan Neman says the future of delivery is faster, more sustainable, and creates broader access, all of which provide improved value to the company’s customers. 

“We couldn’t be more excited to work with Zipline to complement our delivery strategy. Zipline’s sustainable technology and ability to reach customers quickly, with a great delivery experience, will help us give our customers what they want, when they want it,” Neman said.

Another client, Michigan Medicine, will use Zipline’s new service to more than double the number of prescriptions it fills each year through its in-house pharmacy.

Intermountain Health will use it to deliver prescriptions to patients’ homes in the Salt Lake City metro area. 

Elsewhere, MultiCare Health System, Inc. plans to use the new platform to expedite diagnostics and deliver prescriptions and medical devices throughout MultiCare’s network of facilities, including hospitals, laboratories, and doctors’ offices. 

Rwanda experience 

And Zipline’s first customer, the Government of Rwanda, will use the company’s new home delivery service to enable urban aerial last-mile delivery to homes, hotels, and health facilities in Kigali and elsewhere in the country.

In Rwanda, for instance, in hospitals served by Zipline, patients experience 88% fewer in-hospital maternal deaths due to postpartum hemorrhaging.

President Paul Kagame said that the Zipline technology has worked beyond his expectations.

Apart from using the Zipline technology to deliver blood and medicine to hospitals, the government of Rwanda is also employing the technology in its project to end malnutrition by delivering powdered milk to malnourished children across Rwanda.

Rwanda uses this technology to deliver medicine, medical supplies, nutrition, and animal health products. 

The government of Rwanda has also given other government agencies, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Rwanda Development Board, Rwanda Medical Supply, and National Child Development Agency, access to the Zipline technology.

The Rwandese government intends to cover 200 million autonomous kilometers in the country by 2029.

Technology at play

Zipline’s end-to-end solution seamlessly integrates with a business’s current operations. 

That includes its dual-use docking and charging hardware, software that easily works with third-party inventory management and ordering systems, an intuitive app that allows order tracking down to the second, and an autonomy system that has already guided the flight paths of 40 million commercial miles. 

Zipline’s delivery aircraft uses a cable to lower the droid (the delivery device) to deliver packages onto an accurate place. PHOTO/Zipline.

Zipline designed its docking and charging hardware to have a light footprint that can be attached to any building or set up as a freestanding structure. 

And to enhance conviction and effectiveness, a Zip can easily be loaded by a business employee who can send off orders in seconds, right from their location, without even having to leave the kitchen, pharmacy, or doctor’s office. 

Businesses can offer Zipline’s home delivery service in a variety of ways, including native integrations into apps and websites, white-labeled opportunities, and joining Zipline’s marketplace.

The system enables customers to make on-demand orders or schedule the exact time they’d like their package to arrive, down to the second.

Each P2 Zip has a 10-mile service radius while carrying a 6–8-pound payload for out-and-back deliveries from a single dock. 

Alternatively, it can also fly up to 24 miles one way from dock to dock, charging at each dock before picking up its next delivery. 

Because Zips can move from dock to dock, Zipline can dynamically respond to peak order times, ensuring enough delivery capacity for an urgent prescription delivery or a busy Friday pizza night or weekday lunch rush. 

Enhancing Delivery

Keller Cliffton, Co-Founder and CEO of Zipline, said that over the last decade, global demand for instant delivery has skyrocketed, yet the delivery technology being used worldwide is 100 years old. 

“We’re still using the same 3,000-pound, gas combustion vehicles, driven by humans, to make billions of deliveries that usually weigh less than 5 pounds. It’s slow, expensive, and terrible for the planet,” he said. 

“Our new service is changing that and will finally make deliveries work for you and around your schedule. We have built the closest thing to teleportation ever created —a smooth, ultrafast, convenient, and truly magical autonomous logistics system that serves all people equally, wherever they are,” he added.

Cliffton observes that with a reliable inventory and easy access, patients are 42% less likely to miss a vaccine in places where Zipline operates.

“With centralized storage and fast delivery, 67% fewer blood products are wasted at locations served by Zipline,” he noted.

Zipline plans to conduct high-volume flight tests this year involving over 10,000 test flights using about 100 aircraft. 

The first customer deployment of P2 will follow shortly after that. 

Zipline’s record for safety has been proven over the past seven years of operations and more than 500,000 commercial flights.

 Its long-range platform, P1, has autonomously flown 40 million miles worth of commercial deliveries through all kinds of weather without a safety incident – the vast majority of which were flights flown beyond visual line of sight. 

Safety Enhancement

In terms of safety, Zipline has received Part 135 certification and is authorized to complete the longest-range on-demand commercial drone flights in America.

Additionally, Zipline recently received FAA approval to enable its onboard autonomous detect and avoid system. 

In 2022, Zipline completed more deliveries than in all previous years combined and is planning to complete about 1 million deliveries by the end of 2023. 

By 2025, they expect to operate more flights annually than most airlines.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: GGFI: Accelerating e-mobility vision through awareness, innovation

In Africa, Zipline technology is in use in at least five countries, including Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast.

It is also in use in some States in the US as well as in Japan.

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Jackson Okata is a freelance journalist with experience in both broadcast, print and online journalism. His areas of interest are Climate Change, Environment, Agribusiness, Technology, and Gender Empowerment. His contact:


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