Zipline’s Fastest Delivery Drone Set for U.S. Takeoff This Year

The company that delivers more than 20 percent of Rwanda's blood supply aims to deliver medical supplies across the globe.

Zipline unveiled the fastest delivery drone on earth with plans to expand its service to the United States later this year.

The company is the world’s first and only national scale drone delivery system and made headlines in 2016 after teaming up with the Rwandan government to set up a distribution center with 15 drones to deliver blood, plasma, and platelets to 21 hospitals over the western half of the country.

Zipline’s drone delivery has increased the use of some blood products by 175 percent in Rwandan hospitals. Waste and spoilage have been reduced by 95 percent, according to the company’s research.

“We’ve taken everything Zipline has learned making thousands of life-critical deliveries and flying hundreds of thousands of kilometers and redesigned our entire system and operation from top to bottom,” said Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo in a statement.

The new plane is capable of flying four times faster than the average quadcopter drone and can serve an area of 200 times as large.  It can fly up to roughly 80 mph and has round-trip range of 99 miles carrying up to about four pounds of cargo, according to the Zipline.

“In East Africa, Zipline’s drones bring people the medicine they need, when they need it in a way that reduces waste, cost, and inventory while increasing access and saving lives,” said Rinaudo. 

“We’ve been hard at work to improve our technology and are ready to help save lives in America and around the world,” Rinaudo said.