Autonomous Drones Air-Drop Medical Supplies

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Zipline, a San Francisco-based startup, has partnered with the government of Rwanda to air-drop medical supplies to remote villages, truly a potential life-saver for many without immediate access to medicine or blood for transfusions. Several firms in America have promised delivery of consumer items using drones, with Flirtey’s quadrotor drone delivering “a package that included bottled water, emergency food and a first aid kit” to an uninhabited residential setting in Hawthorne, Nevada on April 7. Flirtey calls the flight “the first fully autonomous, FAA-approved urban drone delivery in the United States.” Another firm, Matternet, displayed its quadrotor delivery systems five years ago at the Green Flight Challenge Expo held at NASA Ames Research Center following the completion of the flying …

UPS Tests Lithium Battery Cargo Safety Aids

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Aviation Week reports that United Parcel Service (UPS) “is ready to start FAA certification testing of an active fire-suppression system fitted to the cargo carrier’s new fire-resistant containers, preventive measures aimed in large part at protecting crews from lithium-type battery fires.”   The fire-resistant containers are the center of attention right now, though. After the fatal crash of a UPS Boeing 747-400F in Dubai in September 2010, United Arab Emirates investigators “determined that a large fire developed in the palletized cargo on the ‘Class E’ main deck in an area that included ‘a significant number of lithium-based batteries and other combustible materials,’” according to the Aviation Week report.  That fire had filled the flight deck with smoke within three minutes of its …