zipline_ethan140 karma2019-06-12 19:05:02 UTC
We're a for-profit company! Our goal is to make vital medical products available to everyone, which means it has to be cost-effective for everyone involved.
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zipline_ethan48 karma2019-06-12 21:05:26 UTC
This is an interesting one, thanks for asking. The primary issue that aircraft face flying in cold conditions is icing, in which ice builds up on aerodynamic surfaces and creates drag, increases stall speed, and increases mass. Icing conditions don't only occur when the air is below 0ºC, nor are they guaranteed. It's a really challenging problem, because the types of solutions that large aircraft use (heating elements or redirected hot air from engines) aren't very applicable for small ones. There's a lot of research going into this across the UAV industry, so it'll be interesting to see what's most effective! Independently of that, though, all our hardware has been validated to some pretty crazy temperatures!
zipline_ethan45 karma2019-06-12 15:18:22 UTC
Thanks for the kind words! We've reached a level of software and hardware reliability that our main challenges in flight at this point are weather-related. In Rwanda especially, there are frequently small, powerful weather patterns that push our Zips (what we call our drones) around in the sky. These are basically impossible to model in the meteorological sense, so we're putting some more smarts in our software to avoid them when possible, and some more oomph in our hardware to power through them if they are encountered.
zipline_ethan42 karma2019-06-12 15:28:46 UTC
As for the types of products we deliver, that's true! In Rwanda and Ghana we currently deliver well over 100 different medical products including blood and vaccines. Vaccines are pretty challenging from a thermal standpoint (very low thermal mass and very strict temperature range), and we've done lots of testing to ensure that we can deliver them safely in all operating environments. There are spatial limitations, of course, but the current size of our package can handle quite a wide range of products packed inside. Thanks for the questions!
zipline_ethan36 karma2019-06-13 05:00:43 UTC
https://youtu.be/jEbRVNxL44c?t=283 :) (timestamp @ 4:43)
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