Less expensive and polluting than conventional means of transport, drones are increasingly used to make parcel deliveries. Zipline, a company specializing in the field, presented this Wednesday a new device that makes it possible to deliver to denser cities than before, and therefore, in the long term, to reach many more markets.

The new drone, P2, has propellers that allow it to come to rest in the air. Once at his destination, he releases another device, called "droid", a kind of mini-drone with propellers that contains the package to be delivered, and is able to land and take off vertically.

Smaller and faster

The U.S. company hopes to make deliveries "very quiet and very accurate, even in strong winds, even when the wind tears the leaves out of the trees," said Joseph Mardall, the director of engineering. "You won't even notice that we're not here, and that's the key to our success, to be invisible," he added.

1/ Today, Zipline unveiled our next generation delivery drone system, designed to provide the best home delivery service the planet has ever seen. It's so out-there that you probably won't believe your eyes... 🧵 pic.twitter.com/Ks7df4DVKD

— Ryan Oksenhorn (@ryanzip) March 15, 2023

Access to this content has been blocked in order to respect your choice of consent

By clicking on "I ACCEPT", you accept the deposit of cookies by external services and will thus have access to the content of our partners


And to better pay 20 Minutes, do not hesitate to accept all cookies, even for one day only, via our button "I accept for today" in the banner below.

More information on the Cookie Policy page.

The existing model, P1, which will continue to be used, has only one fixed wing, and must therefore drop the package, attached to a parachute. It requires a landing area equivalent to two parking spaces, against the surface of a picnic table for the P2 with its "droid". The new system is also faster, but it delivers within a more limited radius, 16 km instead of 90 km.

Deliveries of medicines to Rwanda

Zipline plans to conduct more than 10,000 test flights this year before commercially deploying its new drone, including with restaurant chain Sweetgreen, the Rwandan government and U.S. health organizations.

The company said in a statement that it has already made 500,000 commercial flights with P1 worldwide, from the United States to Japan to Rwanda, where its drones can deliver medicines to hard-to-reach rural areas.

An ecological solution

"Demand for deliveries has exploded over the past decade," said Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, co-founder and CEO of Zipline, "but we still use human-driven one-ton gasoline trucks to deliver packages that typically weigh less than 2.2 kg." "It's slow, expensive and very bad for the planet," he added.

Zipline expects one million deliveries by the end of the year, and estimates it will fly more annual flights than most airlines by 2025.

  • Tech
  • Drone
  • New technologies
  • Delivery
  • Innovation
  • Rwanda