Together with DroneUp, A2Z Drone Delivery, a developer of the patented tethered freefall drone delivery mechanism RDS1 (Rapid Delivery System), has performed its first commercial flight in residential drone deliveries. Initially designed 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 helped DroneUp to deliver Coca-Cola with Coffee cans via drones to residents of Coffee County, Georgia.

“For our partners at DroneUp to put their trust in our system was the best proof of concept that we could imagine and was a memorable benchmark for our whole team,” said Aaron Zhang, founder of A2Z Drone Delivery, LLC. “The unique capabilities of the RDS1 were tailor-made for this type of residential delivery where our tethered freefall mechanism can accurately and quickly deposit payloads while hovering far from people, homes, trees, and utility wires.”

Chosen by DroneUp for its rapid delivery capabilities, the RDS1 reduces time-on-station to just 30 seconds per delivery with its mechanism to free-fall the tethered payload before bringing it to a gentle stop near the ground. The delivery mechanism incorporates a lidar sensing system streaming continuous data to the onboard firmware that controls the payload’s rapid descent. Based on the DJI Matrice 600 Pro, the RDS1 is designed for payloads up to 2 kg (4.4 lbs.), and can fly in a range of up to 3.5 km (2.17 miles). 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.

Apart from its delivery speed, A2Z is also aware of how the rise of drone deliveries brings up the chatter about safety, privacy, and noise pollution. Before performing a delivery, A2Z’s delivery system’s pre-flight weight check ensures the flight platform is not overloaded and controls payload deceleration. During delivery, the drone maintains a safe hover of up to 150 feet (45.71 meters), making drone deliveries less intrusive by keeping away from people, property, trees, as well as utility wires, and minimizing intrusive rotor noise.

“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.”

Additionally, the RDS1 continuously monitors payload throughout the mission, enabling eventual beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) missions. Also, its passive payload lock safeguards against payload loss or tether slippage in case of unforeseen power fluctuations and eliminates the need for additional payload housing.

Sold as a modular add-on and available for immediate purchase, the RDS1 easily attaches to the DJI Matrice 600 and the 600 Pro but, by contacting A2Z directly, it can also be seamlessly integrated with other existing drone platforms.