Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR DELIVERY SERVICES 56 unmanned systems inside August/September 2017 Though drone deliveries have not started in the U.S., unmanned aircraft are regularly ferrying essential medical supplies across rough terrain in Rwanda and a new type of one-way drone—capable of being broken down for fuel or even food—is being developed to fl y critical aid to disaster survivors. by Charles Q. Choi D rones can do so much more than take photos and inspect cell phone towers. They can ferry critical sup- plies to hard-to-reach areas and drop off life- saving packages to disaster survivors. One company, Zipline International in San Francisco, is deploying unmanned aerial sys- tems (UAS) to drop off lifesaving packages of blood in Rwanda—and is the world's first na- tional drone delivery service. Another compa- ny, Windhorse Aerospace in Wells, England, is developing a UAS intentionally designed for a one-way trip. The aircraft is made of com- bustible or even edible materials that can be taken apart by disaster survivors after it lands and used for fires or meals. Zipline noted that more than 2 billion people lack adequate access to vital medical supplies because of challenging terrain and gaps in infrastructure. The company aims to overcome this problem with its fixed-wing, twin-engine UAS, called "Zips," to f ly over po- tential obstacles such as traffic jams, muddy roads and collapsed bridges and deliver medi- cal supplies via parachutes to hospitals and clinics in Rwanda. "Everything we do revolves around deliver- ing medical products from where the paved roads end in these countries to where people need them," said Keenan Wyrobek, co-found- er and head of product and engineering at Zipline. Time is often of the essence with such de- liveries. Not only do medical supplies such as blood quickly expire without refrigeration but the difference between a patient living and dy- ing can be a matter of hours. THROUGH THE AIR URGENT SUPPLIES Photo courtesy of Windhorse Aerospace. Windhorse's Pouncer is a one-mission UAV being developed to carry emergency food and then be dismantled to burn as fuel. Eventually the drone itself could be made with edible materials.

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