Zipline, an autonomous drone delivery technology leader, has delivered its 500,000th package globally, reaching a remarkable milestone.
While drone delivery sounds like some far-off technology, Zipline, a leader in the technology’s implementation, has continually shown that this is not the case. In fact, the company has announced that it has delivered its 500,000th package globally, making delivery faster, more streamlined, and more sustainable.
It is truly remarkable for those who haven’t gotten the chance to see Zipline’s system in action. The autonomous drones, which operate as small planes instead of helicopters like other competitors, are launched from delivery locations and have an operating range of 50 miles. After dropping a customer’s package, which is slowly lowered to the ground thanks to a small parachute, the drone returns to the delivery location entirely autonomously.
From Zipline’s operations in Africa delivering medical supplies to its pilot program in Arkansas delivering retail items to Walmart customers, the company has officially proven itself as a mainstay in the sector as it crosses the 500,000 delivery mark since it began deliveries in 2016. Since hitting the milestone on Monday, Zipline has already delivered nearly 4,000 additional packages.
Them: Drone delivery isn’t real and can’t scale.
Us: 500,000+ electric, autonomous deliveries to real customers completed and counting 🙌! pic.twitter.com/wySIvCBTqf
— Zipline (@zipline) January 30, 2023
Perhaps even more impressive is the distance the small autonomous drones traveled in their 500,000 delivery routes. According to one of the company’s co-founders, Keller Cliffton, the drones had traveled a combined 36 million miles. To put this into perspective, that is 75 trips to the moon and back.
A few hours ago, @zipline passed 500k autonomous flights delivering crucial products to our customers. The team has flown about 36 million paid autonomous miles, 10-100x the scale of most of the big autonomous car companies. That’s 75x round trips to the moon! 🚀🌓
— Keller Rinaudo Cliffton (@KellerRinaudo) January 30, 2023
On top of this amazing distance traveled, Zipline has delivered nearly 5 million products and has expanded its network to cover 25 million people globally. In one of the best showings of the network’s strength, Zipline’s technology was used in Ghana to distribute PPE during the pandemic and has since been leveraged by the Ghanaian government to continue to support medical aid projects.
Giving the achievement even better context is just how far ahead Zipline is compared to another company experimenting with drone delivery: Amazon.
Amazon’s drone delivery program has been developing for years as the massive online retailer continues its unending battle with Walmart for retail dominance. But despite big promises and even bigger investments, Amazon’s drones have yet to (excuse the pun) get off the ground.
As retailers look to cut down delivery times, drone delivery systems, like the one developed by Zipline, will become common and necessary to meet consumers’ demands. And while Zipline’s delivery program with Walmart in the U.S. is still in its infancy, the company’s achievement today shows that a nationwide offering is closer than ever before.
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