A couple of years ago, Zipline created a national drone delivery system to ship blood and drugs to remote medical centers in Rwanda. Now it has developed what it claims is the world’s swiftest commercial delivery drone, with a top speed of 128 kilometers an hour (a hair shy of 80 miles per hour).
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Zipline is hoping its new fixed-wing aerial robot, which is both speedier and easier to maintain than its predecessor, will help it win business in an industry that’s attracted plenty of big players. They include Amazon, which has been testing its Prime Air drone delivery service for years in the UK and elsewhere, and Project Wing, part of Alphabet’s secretive X lab, which is using its drones to deliver pharmaceuticals and burritos in a pilot project in Australia.
Soon these and other companies will be able to experiment more in America, too. Next month, the US government is expected to green-light a number of agreements between private drone operators and states and local entities that want to test drone services involving “beyond-line-of-sight operations,” which means drones can no longer be seen from the ground by a human minder.
Zipline has had plenty of experience of this in Rwanda, where its drones have already flown some 300,000 kilometers in over 4,000 flights since its service started in October 2016 (see “Zipline’s ambitious medical drone delivery in Africa”). The company has also launched a similar operation in Tanzania.
Keller Rinaudo, Zipline’s CEO, says its African experience has inspired it to overhaul its entire logistics system, not just its drones. It has revamped the distribution centers where the drones are stored and loaded, and it’s using computer-vision technology to assist with pre-flight checks. These and other changes have slashed the time between receiving an order and getting a drone into the air from 10 minutes to just one.
A streamlined launch-and-recovery system plus more and faster drones means that Zipline will now be able to manage 500 flights a day out of a single center, compared with 50 previously. The company boasts that its fixed-wing drones can serve a much greater area than typical quadcopter ones, carrying a load of up to 1.75 kilograms on a round trip of up to 160 kilometers.
Timothy Reuter, who heads the Drones and Tomorrow’s Airspace initiative at the World Economic Forum, reckons that Zipline can leverage its experience in Africa to help organizations elsewhere improve the efficiency of supply chains using its drone technology. Still, the business will face stiff competition from the likes of Amazon and X’s Project Wing, which are designing drones that can deliver all sorts of things without the need for much infrastructure on the ground.
Rinaudo’s bet is that speed will give Zipline an edge when it comes to delivering urgent medical supplies and other goods. The startup has signed partnerships with several health-care systems in the US and hopes to have projects up and running by the end of the year. “The biggest thing we learned [in Africa] is that speed is everything,” he says. “We’ve shown that this technology can save lives abroad; now we’re going to show that it can save lives in the US too.”
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Drone delivery firm Zipline has revealed a new aircraft that it says will let it make up to 500 deliveries every day.
Zipline operates a commercial service delivering blood supplies in Rwanda.
The new drone weighs 20kg (44lb) and can carry 1.75kg of cargo. It can drop its delivery to an area about the size of two parking spaces.
The firm has now applied to take part in a trial being organised by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).
The UAS Integration Pilot Program is a partnership between local governments and the commercial sector.
The list of projects chosen for the trial will be finalised on 7 May.
Founder Keenan Wyrobek told the news site Cnet that the new aircraft, with a 10m wing span, can fly “dramatically further” than the more traditional quad-copter design.
It has multiple motors so that if one malfunctions, the drone can continue to fly.
The drone has a top speed of 128 kilometres per hour (80mph) and can do a round trip of 160km.
Its blood supplies are packaged inside small boxes attached to paper parachutes.
Keller Rinaudo, Zipline’s chief executive, said the Silicon Valley firm had redesigned its entire system, including its distribution centres.
“The new aircraft and distribution centre system we’re unveiling today will help Zipline scale to meet the needs of countries around the world – including the United States,” he said.
In 2017, Zipline announced plans to expand its service to cover Tanzania.
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That day is not today.
On Monday, Russia’s postal service tested a delivery drone in the city of Ulan-Ude, Siberia. Instead, though, the drone crashed violently into a wall of nearby building, turning the UAV into a mess of jumbled parts.
Russia had announced its plans to start delivering mail via drone. It seems like a smart idea, especially in such a huge country where severe weather often interrupts mail delivery.
Here was the original plan for Monday’s test. The $20,000 drone was supposed to pick up a small package and deliver it to a nearby village, Reuters reports. Instead the device failed spectacularly, only making it a short distance before crashing into a three-story building. The small crowd gathered to watch the test can be heard uttering expletives, according to Reuters.
No one was injured in the crash, and it didn’t do any damage, except to Russia’s pride.
“We won’t stop with this, we will keep trying,” Alexei Tsydenov, the head of the region who was present at the test, told Reuters. “Those who don’t risk don’t get a result.”
And risk they shall. The organizers aren’t quite sure what went wrong, but they suspect the 100 or so nearby wifi spots could have had something to do with it.
Russia might have succeeded in meddling in our elections, but, hey, at least our drones work.
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Android Oreo, released to OEMs August 21st, 2017, finally started rolling out to the T-Mobile Galaxy S8 Active in April of 2018. International versions started rolling out last month.
Personally having not been in the Samsung ecosystem very long, a 225 day turnaround for a version update seems a bit excessive. One of HTC’s selling points was a guarantee you would get an update within a certain timeframe (one that they broke over and over and over again with no reprecussions).
That said, Oreo was one of the larger steps forward in terms of Android software. There were also some major issues with the CRAP release which got it yanked.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus devices on Sprint and T-Mobile started receiving their updates a couple of weeks ago with T-Mobile in the rear releasing the last of the 8-series updates yesterday with their Galaxy Note 8 Android Oreo update.
I was surprised that the Android Oreo update was out on Sprint for the past three days. I ended up manually forcing a check for updates and after 1.3 gigabytes downloaded my phone is now now cream filled.
It took about 22 minutes from start to finish and under 25% battery to do the update.
Can I get the Samsung Galaxy Android Oreo update?
If you’re in the United States and have one of the Samsung 8-Flagships, probably. It’s a good time check for updates manually. If you’ve got an S7 they are supposedly getting to you this summer.
If you live elsewhere, chances are you’ve had this for a few weeks. You also may be wondering why that random guy in the United States is going on about several-week old software.
You get what you get when you’re not rooted.
Help Paul out
Give me some money. Kidding. Let me know what you’ve discovered with Oreo so that I can play with it. Let’s hope some good stuff appears before we’re inundated with Android P announcements.[Android Authority]
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This falls into the category of something Paul finds amusing at 11pm – a waste of USPS money, resources, and potential headaches for employees from an evidently unproofed mass mailer.
There’s no righteous indignation below, just “wow, this failed on a lot of levels, let me show you the fail”.
TL;DR – USPS sent mailer with invalid mobile link and fake QR code promoting service.
In Nashville, TN and probably elsewhere the USPS sent out a pamphlet in an attempt to make people aware of Informed Delivery. This is a service which allows you to get an email containing a scan of the letters you should be receiving that or the next day. Really, it’s neat, sign up for free for it here.
It can do more than that, such as tracking packages, rescheduling things, but I’m not here to pitch for that cool USPS service. It’s worth promoting though.
I’d been interested in getting this set up, but had not had much time as the website, kids, work, illness (mostly colds with a dash of allergies,) Easter, etc all got in the way. The letter informing me how to showed and that kicked my butt into action, this was going to happen and happen while the kids were in the bath.
So the first thing I tried was the website they listed. usps.com/mobiledelivery
That didn’t work, and as of 10:56pm CST 4/2/18 it returns a file or page not found. “OK,” thought I, “perhaps this is one of those weird things where the USPS ancient system is treating a mobile app and a computer app differently.”
Nope, no dice. Windows PC (Edge/Chrome,) and Chrome Android get the same thing. They hadn’t set it up.
Had they jumped the gun and delivered their pamphlet early? Perhaps. This was what I was thinking – giving them the benefit of the doubt until I tried their QR code.
It took a while but I, as well as my QR reader, discovered the QR code was invalid. It never resolves. It’s the only QR code I’ve ever seen anywhere that didn’t resolve. It’s a mock up/placeholder of a QR code.
So yeah, USPS sent me a fake QR code (it’s not valid,) and either jumped the gun on the link they’re promoting or are promoting the wrong link.
Seems like a lot of things had to fail to get that. Even if the URL will be valid tomorrow the QR code is a mockup.
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