Home Tech Zipline to launch countrywide drone delivery services in Kenya

Zipline to launch countrywide drone delivery services in Kenya


Zipline, an instant delivery service that operates a drone manufacturing and delivery system, delivering medical supplies as well as non-medical products including ecommerce and animal health products is in its final stages to launch in Kenya, starting with a Kisumu distribution hub and further countrywide expansion.

“We are in the final stages prior to launch. We will make the announcement when everything is set to launch our Kisumu hub and any other new hub as may come up,” the firm announced.

Founded in 2014, Zipline aims to create logistics solutions that serve all humans equally by leveraging expertise in robotics and autonomy to design, manufacture and operate the world’s largest automated delivery system.

Recently, Zipline signed an MoU with the County Government of Kisumu to give way to the establishment and operation of a Zipline distribution hub in Kisumu County which will act as the base of operations for the Zipline Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and the Zipline services capable of serving health projects and facilities across the 16 Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) Counties.

From there, medical commodities will be delivered to over 500 health facilities while also delivering adolescent health products to communities.

Zipline technology uses specific routes identified through digital mapping and identification of locations. Its drones can easily detect an aircraft on their flight path and take a diversion to avoid collision. The drones also have redundant features so that one is always on standby to operate in case one has a fault in-flight.

Zipline also boasts of a parachute landing system which makes the drone to safely land at any given time should there be an emergency or any unforeseen failure in flight. Zipline is working with the KCAA to ensure that it complies with all the drone regulations in the country.

Zipline drones operate simply.

A requestor (either medical staff at remote hospitals and clinics, veterinary, or other designated official) place orders with Zipline, a fulfillment operator receives this order and prepares the products into a special delivery package with a parachute. A Zipline flight operator then packs the medical products into a drone and performs pre-flight checks. The drone is then launched with a supercapacitor-powered electric catapult launcher and accelerates from 0 to 70 miles per hour (0 to 113 km/h) in 0.33 seconds. The drone then flies autonomously to its delivery site while a remote pilot at each distribution center monitors all drones in flight. The drone descends to 20–35 meters (66–115 ft) before dropping the package under a paper parachute.

The drone technology takes between 10 and 45 minutes to deliver the supplies within an area within the radius of 80 to 120 kilometers from the Zipline centre. This means a distance that could take about six hours by road will be covered under 30minutes by the zipline drones.