August 25, 2021
A2Z Drone Delivery, which develops tethered freefall drone delivery mechanisms, has announced the launch of its RDSX commercial delivery unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Developed with a leading global logistics provider, the system aims to deliver dual payloads per flight, helping drone service providers streamline deliveries while reducing consumer concerns around residential drone delivery.
The RDSX uses A2Z Drone Delivery’s proprietary tethered freefall Rapid Delivery System, which can quickly and safely deliver payloads from altitudes as high as 150 feet. By keeping spinning rotors far from people and property damage, the RDSX aims to mitigate consumer concerns with drone deliveries, such as the potential for property damage, intrusive rotor noise, and privacy concerns with low-flying UAVs, the company said.
The new RDSX is capable of carrying dual payloads each weighing up to 2 kg on a round trip of up to 18 km (11 miles), or the RDSX can be configured with a single tether to expand its range out to 30 km (18.6 miles). The controlled-freefall delivery method allows UAV service providers to reduce time-on-station to a minimum, by delivering the package to the ground in seconds, which eliminates the need for the drone to touch down. By maintaining its altitude through the delivery, the RDSX keeps spinning rotors away from people and property, allowing it to deposit payloads into areas congested by trees, wires or other dangerous obstructions. The integrated A2Z Drone Delivery app combines manual control system operations with an onboard computer and sensor array to manage the package’s freefall and gentle stop before the ground. Once the package is delivered, a Kevlar tether and auto-release mechanism releases the payload before being reeled back up for reuse.
“Residential drone delivery pilot programs are coming online throughout the United States right now, and much of the industry is anxiously awaiting the large-scale regulatory approval that will see residential deployments rapidly expand,” said Aaron Zhang, founder of A2Z Drone Delivery. “While the raw technical capabilities for these deliveries already exist, a key benchmark for regulatory approvals will be addressing the consumer comfort with UAVs being rolled out into daily life. Our tethered freefall delivery capability integrated with the RDSX offers a way to mitigate some of those consumer concerns.”
A dual-payload system allows drone service providers to streamline their drone deliveries and reduce customer concerns over residential drone delivery.
The company said its freefall delivery technology has previously been used for residential drone delivery trials, deployment and retrieval of ground sensors for energy exploration, and shore-to-ship port delivery. The technology can also be used by first responders delivering life-saving medicine, or search and rescue professionals quickly deploying equipment to remote areas, or for rapidly collecting samples throughout an expansive mining facility.
The RDSX leverages a proven UAV flight platform equipped with a pair of cameras to allow pilots to navigate beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), and also includes an independent downward-facing lidar sensing system that streams continuous data to the onboard firmware that controls the payload’s rapid descent. This allows the pilot to visually monitor payloads through the flight and delivery. With quick-swap bucket-style batteries to limit downtime between flights, the RDSX can operate in diverse conditions, with temperatures ranging from -20 to 45 degrees Celsius, in up to 95% humidity, and elevations up to 4,800 feet. The RDSX’s eight rotor arms, fitted with durable carbon fiber propellers, can fold away for easy transport of the drone.
“Working hand-in-hand with a logistics provider gave our engineers invaluable insights into how our customers will interact with the drone platform and allowed us to design the RDSX from the bottom up for the unique demands of commercial UAV deliveries,” said Zhang. “Based on an extremely robust flight platform with hundreds of thousands of flight hours, the RDSX integrates our tethered freefall delivery mechanism to minimize time-on-station, reduce downtime and prioritize safety for the airframe, its payloads and the customers receiving packages.”
The RDSX’s integrated safety features include an onboard parachute, emergency payload abandonment, passive payload lock, pre-flight weight check, payload status detection, rapid descent calculation, manual delivery control, and transverse tether winding. These are designed to safeguard the package recipients on the ground as well as the onboard payload during flight, the company said.