Zipline International Inc has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct commercial deliveries using drones beyond visual line of sight and without visual observers. The approval will help enable broad integration of autonomous aircraft into the US national airspace and make commercial drone delivery scalable and affordable.
Zipline’s drones have an onboard detect and avoid system that has been tested and proven to enable continuous, real-time airspace monitoring to ensure safe operations. The company has flown more than 50 million commercial autonomous miles and completed more than 750,000 commercial deliveries without a single major safety.
“Today we use 4,000lb gas combustion vehicles driven by humans to do billions of deliveries across the country. It’s expensive, slow and bad for the environment. This decision means that we can start to transition delivery to solutions that are 10x as fast, less expensive, and zero emission,” said Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, CEO and co-founder of Zipline. “It means that Zipline hubs across the country can now go from serving a few thousand homes to serving hundreds of thousands of homes each year and millions of people, which will save time, money and even lives.”
Zipline’s safety system includes more than 500 preflight safety checks, strategic route design, and redundant flight-critical systems. Its onboard perception system uses ADS-B transponders that identify aircraft in the nearby airspace, as well as an acoustic avoidance system that uses small, lightweight microphones to detect and avoid other aircraft flying up to two miles away in all directions, including during the dark of night and in challenging weather.
Zipline operates at national-scale in multiple countries where it delivers up to 140 miles round trip, and began serving the Us in 2020 by delivering medical supplies during the height of the pandemic. The company also achieved Part 135 aircraft carrier certification and is approved to operate the longest-range drone delivery flights in the US.Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter