A2Z Drone Delivery recently completed the first commercial deployment of its RDS1 drone delivery system with the help of drone services provider DroneUp. The A2Z RSD1 drone was also chosen to make deliveries when Coca-Cola delivered its Coke with Coffee to residents in Coffee County, Georgia.
A2Z’s drone delivery system picks up the package and flies with it. Once at the delivery destination, the package free-falls from the drone while connected to a tether. Right before the package hits the ground, the tether is gently slowed down by a motor before the drone lowers a little to place the package on the ground.
Aaron Zhang, founder of A2Z Drone Delivery, shared:
“For our partners at DroneUp to put their trust in our system was the best proof of concept that we could imagine and was a memorable benchmark for our whole team. The unique capabilities of the RDS1 were tailor-made for this type of residential delivery where our tethered freefall mechanism can accurately and quickly deposit payloads while hovering far from people, homes, trees, and utility wires.”
The approach of dropping the package off while the drone stays in the air isn’t anything new, as Google’s Wing Aviation has been doing it for the last few years. The benefit of doing it this way means the drone doesn’t need to land, allowing it to save power, there is less noise pollution, and it’s less invasive when it comes to privacy.
John Vernon, the CTO of DroneUp, added:
“With the innumerable logistics that go into residential drone delivery, it’s important to have confidence in every aspect of the hardware from the UAV platform to the delivery mechanism. The RDS1 allows our pilots to reduce time-on-station to about 30 seconds per delivery. Combined with the ability to make deliveries from cruising altitude, this rapid delivery and the integrated safety features in the tether system itself help us assuage some of the public concerns over UAV delivery.”
Controlling the drone is fairly easy to do, as A2Z overlays its own data over DJI’s current app, giving you all the information you need to know about the package. The tether is rated for 100 pounds, meaning the drone would give in before that tether would.
- Payload status detection — Monitors payload throughout flight and delivery, enabling eventual beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) missions.
- Pre-flight weight check — Ensures the flight platform is not overloaded and controls payload deceleration.
- Rapid descent calculation — Automatically determines when to slow the payload freefall at the proper distance from the ground.
- Manual delivery control — Intelligent onboard systems provide safeguards while allowing pilots to manually control tethered payload delivery and retrieval.
- Emergency payload abandonment — Allows the pilot to quickly detach the drone from its payload amid flight emergencies.
- Transverse tether winding — Ensures the tether is tightly woven on the reel to maximize capacity and prevent knotting.
- Passive payload lock — Safeguards against payload loss or tether slippage in case of unforeseen power fluctuations, and eliminates the need for additional payload housing.
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