Recent filings have revealed that Zipline, one of many drone delivery startups globally, recently managed to secure $330m in a series-F funding round at a valuation of $4.2bn. Since its initial venture round 12 years ago the company has now raised over $820m according to Crunchbase making it one of the best funded
Zipline started out in the developing world flying critical medical supplies such as blood and vaccines in Rwanda and other nations because healthcare is more readily funded and regulatory approvals for unmanned flights come faster. However, it has also been growing its commercial delivery business, with partners including Walmart, GNC, Pagliacci Pizza and Associated Couriers. They target one million autonomous deliveries by the end of 2023 after passing the 600,000 level in April.
Source: Zipline, YouTube
Zipline’s newest drone the P2 utilizes a two-stage delivery system, when the drone arrives at the target destination it then lowers what they call the delivery droid down on a zipline while the main part of the drone continues to hover above to enable ultra precise delivery.
Both the main drone and the smaller delivery droid are autonomous – the delivery droid (pictured above) utilizes a series of fans to keep it stable and allows it to gently land deliveries with ultra-high precision.
Another one of their innovations includes charging stations which look like lamp posts where the drone can autonomously land and recharge while it is waiting for its next delivery.