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Zipline adds zip to drone delivery service

Zipline drone
Zipline’s next-generation drone can hit a top speed of 80 mph. (Zipline Photo)

A California-based aerial delivery venture called Zipline has unveiled what it calls “the fastest commercial delivery drone on Earth,” capable of flying as fast as 80 mph (128 km/h).

Sustained cruising speed for the latest version of Zipline’s fixed-wing drone is almost 63 mph (101 km/h), which is about 13 mph faster than the previous version. It has a round-trip range of 100 miles, and can carry a maximum load of nearly 4 pounds.

The drone isn’t the only thing that’s been upgraded: Changes in the company’s logistics system have reduced the time from receipt of an order to the launch of a fulfillment flight from 10 minutes to one minute.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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