Zipline, a household name for drone operations in medical delivery, especially during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, has gone a step further to lead innovation in different aspects of delivery.
The new innovative product being introduced by the world’s largest autonomous delivery system operator will see the brand venture into specialising in on-demand house-to-house drone delivery in different sectors and instant logistics supply in its various countries of operation.
Described as the next-generation in delivery, the platform is said to be highly robust to provide on-demand fast and precise delivery directly to homes, offices and public places in cities and across regions.
The healthcare and hospitality sectors stand to be part of the greatest beneficiaries, with some restaurants and food vendors in the United States already planning to capitalise on the innovation to expand their delivery services to other states and reduce delivery turnover time significantly.
The innovation, dubbed Platform 2 (P2), is a product of several years of research and hard work to build and fine-tune in order to provide an optimal customer experience at scale.
Co-Founder and CEO of Zipline, Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, speaking on the new product, mentioned that global demand for instant delivery has skyrocketed not only in the healthcare delivery space, but also in the delivery of food, fashion goods, among others; but unfortunately, the technology that matches up with demand has been found wanting, hence, the decision to think beyond the box and come up with such solution.
“Unlike other drone delivery services, Zipline’s drones (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 manoeuvres down a tether, steers to the correct location, abruptly drops off its package to areas as small as a patio table or the front steps of a home.”
Touching on the next phase of the process, Mr. Cliffton indicated that Zipline plans to conduct high-volume flight tests this year involving more than 10,000 test flights, using about 100 aircraft, then the first customer deployment of P2 will follow suit.
President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, in his testimonial message, narrated how in 2015, his government decided to give Zipline a try in the healthcare sector to deliver drugs and blood to hospitals, which turned out successful.
“I believe in processes, so when you make one step forward or try something and see positive results, obviously you would want to do more, and that is what happened in this partnership. The interesting thing about this is that when you make a request for something, before you close your eyes and blink, it has arrived.”
He indicated that 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.
The president, in a friendly manner, mentioned that he cannot wait to receive a hot meal delivery from a restaurant to his home in a matter of minutes because of the absence of traffic.
In Ghana, Zipline has been working with the government to facilitate blood and medical supplies deliveries to hospitals across the country since 2020. It played a crucial role in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring samples collected for testing to ascertain whether an individual is positive or negative get to the testing centre – Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research – within the shortest possible time.
The partnership with Zipline has been a game-changer in the healthcare delivery system.
The service has been instrumental in delivering critical medicines, vaccines and blood to health facilities in Ghana. The country now boasts six distribution centres in Omenako, Mpanya, Vobsi, Sefwi Wiawso, Kete Krachi and Anum, making it the largest aerial logistics delivery network in the world.
Zipline, through the national drone delivery services, has delivered more than 14.8 million units of lifesaving medicines, vaccines and blood products to health facilities by the end of 2022.