Los Angeles-based A2Z drone delivery on Monday introduced a new cargo drone and delivery system that he says will provide the largest payload of any tethered delivery system on the market.
Often, drones use tethers or winches to lower packages to the ground from altitude. Delivering from above is an attractive proposition for many drone companies, as it makes them less likely to have to deal with noise and privacy regulations. Companies using a tethered system include Flytrex, Elistair, and drone delivery arm Alphabet Wing.
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A2Z refers to the new system as its second-generation Rapid Delivery System, or RDS2. It provides the basis for a tethered delivery in the form of a frame, winch, tether and hook.
The winch is powered by a heavy-duty motor that allows the system to handle payloads of up to 22 pounds, superior to any tethered drone service on the market. The tether itself is made of braided Kevlar which allows approximately 800 deliveries between replacements. A patent pending would add an automatic release mechanism to the hook.
“RDS2 has completed over 2,000 test deliveries and is already deployed with six of our beta testing partners, who have tested the platform in a wide range of applications,” said Evan Hertafeld, Chief Technology Officer. from A2Z. “Consistency and reliability are the name of the game and these tests have reinforced the effectiveness of our hardware.”
The RDS2 is also factory integrated with the RDST, A2Z’s new cargo drone. The aircraft can fly up to 9 miles round trip from a central distribution hub, and it can even pick up payloads of up to 11 pounds while hovering at a safe distance.
Unlike other delivery drones that rely on specially designed aircraft packaging, the RDST does not require specialized boxes. Rather, it’s designed as a “plug and play” solution, compatible with any retailer’s packaging as long as it fits in the drone’s 2.6 cubic foot cargo hold.
Above all, the RDS2 chassis “can be easily stowed in the belly of any heavy transport drone”. This means the system can be integrated with RDST and/or delivery drones from other companies.
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“Most drone delivery systems in deployment today require payloads to be packed in special boxes, pouches, or on-board payload compartments. The RDS2 is designed to meet every shipper’s expectations, using what every sender has,” said Aaron Zhang, Founder and CEO of A2Z. “The RDS2 can automatically release the sender’s own boxes, eliminating the need for a receiver on the ground to meet the drone and retrieve the package without landing.”
The company noted that the RDS2 and RDST were designed with residential drone delivery in mind. But he added that both are also ideal for deliveries of medical supplies or rescue equipment for search and rescue operations.
Outside of logistics, current A2Z customers use the company’s equipment to transport tools and samples between mining operations and deliver urgent supplies and port documents from shore to vessel.
The previous iteration of A2Z’s rapid delivery system, the RDS1, was used to deliver Coca-Cola products to residents of Coffee County, Georgia, and it was the drone of choice for a delivery partnership in course between Walmart and another drone company, DroneUp.
The RDS1 also includes the RDSX drone, which has a unique “double drop” mechanism that allows it to deliver two separate payloads in a single trip. Each package can weigh up to 4.4 pounds and travel just over 11 miles round trip. Maintaining a single package extends the range of the system to 18.6 miles.
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