Zipline Unveils New Acoustic-Based Detect and Avoid Technology
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
This week, instant logistics leader Zipline revealed a first-of-its-kind new Detection and Avoidance (DAA) system utilizing onboard acoustic-based technology.
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This acoustic system is composed of a series of small, lightweight acoustic microphones and onboard processors used to navigate airspace and grant 360-degree awareness with a range of up to 2,000 meters. This innovative onboard system enables the aircraft to autonomously detect and maneuver around other aircraft and obstacles in real time, making large scale autonomous commercial operations more feasible.
“Our DAA system is the holy grail for drone technology,” said Zipline co-founder and CTO Keenan Wyrobek. “We’ve created a system that is agile enough to operate with the finest of margins, and can think for itself and adjust in real-time. DAA is the result of years of development and hundreds of thousands of flight hours. It’s an elegant answer to the challenges of flying beyond the visual line of sight in the United States not in 10 years–but today.”
Other DAA solutions make use of unwieldy or ground-based systems for optical or electromagnetic awareness ill-suited to scaling small, long-range drone operations. Zipline’s new acoustic-based technology pairs lightweight, affordable hardware with the precision necessary for operation in complex airspace.
“We imagine a world where physical products are delivered as quickly and as easily as a text message. DAA is the linchpin of scaling instant delivery in the United States and globally,” said Zipline founder and CEO Keller Rinaudo. “We envision a future in which this system will become the industry standard for all commercial autonomous aircraft to fly safely.”
The DAA system’s hardware comes pre-built into Zipline’s drones, allowing it to be activated once regulatory approval is granted.
This new DAA reveal comes more than five years after the initial launch of commercial operations at Zipline, which today completes a delivery once every four minutes, and has carried out more than 300,000 commercial flights.
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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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