Zipline has successfully deployed its medical drone technology in forces exercises between the United States Marine Corps and the Australian Defense Force.
The California-based company created drones that would assist in the delivery of life-saving medical aid to remote areas.
The partnership set out to demonstrate how autonomous delivery drones might assist in providing medical supplies during combat.
Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo said of the partnership: “The US military is one of the largest providers of life-saving health care and critical aid in conflict, humanitarian and disaster relief scenarios around the world.
“Zipline is proud to partner with the Defense Department because our goal is to get people the care they need to stay healthy and alive no matter where they are in the world and no matter the circumstances.”
Since launching in October 2016, Zipline has expanded to become a multinational delivery company making medical deliveries to health facilities in Rwanda, Ghana and, as of September 2019, India.
Each of Zipline’s drones can carry a payload of up to 1.8 kilos in weight and has a range of 100 miles in adverse weather.
Zipline’s partnership with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and The Naval Medical Research Center’s Naval Advanced Medical Development (NMRC-NAMD) began with a series of tests in the US that included a 79-mile flight – the longest-range commercial drone delivery flight in the country’s history.
Zipline was then tasked with deploying its drones as part of a military exercise between the US and Australian militaries between July 30th and September 5th, 2019, making over 400 deliveries of mock blood supplies during mass casualty simulations. Rinaudo added: “We hope to continue working with the Department of Defense to help actively train military personnel on the best ways to use this technology as we prepare for the day it may be sent to the front lines to help save lives.”