An Autonomous Delivery Drone That Saves Lives

Former NASA engineer and entertaining science vlogger Mark Rober extolled the many virtues of Zipline, an autonomous drone company that quietly provides home grocery delivery. It also delivers life-saving medications and blood products to remote hospitals in Rwanda and other countries, lowering the mortality rate by 88% in some cases.

That is a nearly silent drone system that can deliver a package from the sky right to my backyard in as little as two minutes with dinner plate accuracy and as far as I am concerned that’s basically teleportation …

Rober traveled to Rwanda to learn more. He was clearly impressed with the people and the operation itself.

The whole thing …works in pretty much any weather and because there’s no human steering it. It has no issues flying at night so they run the operation 24 hours a day, which is how in six years they’ve managed to make those half a million often life-saving deliveries.

He also paid a local visit to the US branch of the company to find out how they made such a quiet drone. The engineers there told him that hummingbirds inspired their design for both their long and short-range drones.

We studied the hummingbird a lot. …They’re tiny and they’re really quiet they just they just like hover there you barely hear it