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CNBC reports that Zipline, which has "flown more than 38 million miles with its autonomous electric delivery drones since the company was founded in 2014," last week "showed off its next-generation aircraft, which it hopes will make rapid aerial deliveries an everyday convenience for customers throughout the U.S., even in densely populated urban areas."

According to the story, "Zipline’s new drone, dubbed the Platform 2 or P2 Zip, is capable of carrying up to eight pounds worth of cargo within a ten-mile radius, and can land a package on a space as small as a table or doorstep … While Zipline’s original drone, the P1 Zip, features a fixed wing or glider-like design, the P2 employs both lift and cruise propellers and a fixed wing. These help it maneuver precisely and quietly, even in rainy or windy weather.

"To deliver cargo to a customer’s door, the P2 Zip hovers around 300 feet above ground level and dispatches a kind of mini-aircraft and container called the 'droid.'  The droid descends on a long thin tether, and maneuvers quietly into place with fan-like thrusters before setting down for package retrieval."  CNBC writes that "the P2 Zip can travel ten miles in ten minutes," and the company claims that it "can make a delivery approximately seven times faster than any typical service you may order from today."

Zipline still has some work to do, the story points out:  "The startup plans to conduct more than 10,000 test flights using about 100 new P2 Zips this year. With its existing P1 drones, Zipline is already on track to complete about 1 million deliveries by the end of 2023, and by 2025 it expects to operate more flights annually than most commercial airlines."

KC's View:

Clearly we're getting to the point where drone deliveries to consumers will become much more commonplace.

Axios reported just the other day that "Alphabet-owned Wing … unveiled its automated Wing Delivery Network, which is designed to deploy drones as efficiently as Uber dispatches drivers."

The momentum is there.  What strikes me as extraordinary is that Amazon hardly is part of the conversation.