Free-Fall Delivery Mechanism

A2Z Drone Delivery, LLC, developer of a patented tethered freefall drone delivery mechanism, is launching its flagship product, the RDS1 (Rapid Delivery System) which maintains a safe hover of up to 150 feet (45.71 meters) while its delivery mechanism controls the payload’s freefall for a safe and accurate touchdown. Offered as a modular add-on system or as a ready-to-fly platform based on the DJI Matrice 600 Pro, the RDS1 is designed for payloads up to 2 kg (4.4 lbs.). With a range of up to 3.5 km (2.17 miles), the RDS1 is ideal for rapid deployment of time-sensitive first aid and life-saving medical supplies, or to deliver material to destinations where landing the drone is problematic such as a tossing ship or dense forest.

The RDS1 addresses some of the consumer-protection concerns with drone delivery. By delivering payloads from a safe hover altitude, the RDS1 protects recipients from spinning UAV propellers, while mitigating privacy concerns of low-flying drones and abating intrusive rotor noise. The RDS1’s unique patented freefall delivery mechanism reduces time-on-station to ensure onboard power can be put to use in other ways. Built on the familiar DJI flight control interface, the A2Z Drone Delivery app combines manual control system operations with an onboard sensor array to manage the package’s freefall and gently stop its descent just above the ground. Rated at 100 lbs. tensile strength, the RDS1’s Kevlar® tether and elastic fabric pouch can be reeled back up for reuse or to retrieve materials from personnel on the ground.

“Our rapid delivery system is ideal for situations where a drone cannot safely approach close proximity to its delivery location such as delivering radios or medical supplies to a search and rescue team in a forest or as a more efficient option to deliver and retrieve port documents from awaiting cargo ships,” said Aaron Zhang, founder of A2Z Drone Delivery, LLC. “While other drone delivery platforms are designed to hover close to the ground, our tethered free-fall delivery technique enables efficient and accurate placement without the UAV approaching people, structures or other obstructions like trees and wires.”

RDS1 Features

The company’s proprietary delivery mechanism incorporates a LiDAR sensing system streaming continuous data to the onboard firmware which controls the payload’s rapid descent. Additional integrated features include:

  • Payload status detection – Monitors payload throughout flight and delivery, enabling eventual beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) missions
  • Pre-flight weight check – Ensures the flight platform is not overloaded and controls payload deceleration
  • Rapid descent calculation – Automatically determines when to slow the payload freefall at the proper distance from the ground
  • Manual delivery control – Intelligent onboard systems provide safeguards while allowing pilots to manually control tethered payload delivery and retrieval
  • Emergency payload abandonment – Allows the pilot to quickly detach the drone from its payload amid flight emergencies
  • Transverse tether winding – Ensures the tether is tightly woven on the reel to maximize capacity and prevent knotting
  • Passive payload lock – Safeguards against payload loss or tether slippage in case of unforeseen power fluctuations, and eliminates the need for additional payload housing

RDS1 Configurations

The A2Z Drone Delivery RDS1 is sold as a modular add-on that can be easily installed on the DJI Matrice 600 or DJI Matrice 600 Pro, or purchased as a ready-to-fly system mounted on the DJI Matrice 600 Pro. In either configuration, the RDS1 includes:

  • A2Z Drone Delivery App – The A2Z app incorporates intuitive overlays on the familiar DJI flight control interface allowing pilots to monitor payload status while manually controlling delivery and retrieval
  • Kevlar tether – Rated for 100 lbs. tensile strength, far more weight than the airframe is designed to carry, the tether and delivery system are able to sustain additional forces which may be realized during delivery or retrieval missions
  • Reusable fabric pouches – Elastic pouches secure payloads of varying form factors and can be left with the recipient, or reeled up to retrieve payloads and be reused
  • Installation guidance – Detailed step-by-step installation guide and direct customer support

“As we bring this first iteration of our unique rapid delivery system to market, we’re eager to work with our customers to adapt the system to meet their unique mission demands and set our product roadmap to suit their needs,” said Zhang. “We have already initiated development of a ‘tap-and-go’ payload auto-release mechanism to remotely deposit the payload without an awaiting recipient; and while our flexible payload pouches can already accommodate diverse demands, our design team is nimble enough to adapt the delivery system to just about any payload the flight platform can support.”

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