The world’s fastest commercial delivery drone is here
A recent report came out covering a new drone that has been classified as the world’s fastest commercial delivery drone by the company that created it. Zipline recently conducted tests of its latest creation, which can reach 80 miles per hour, carry 3.8 pounds and travel up to 100 miles at a time. Even more impressive is the logistics network Zipline has built over the past year and a half for its drone program in Rwanda, which entails the transport of blood for transfusions to remote clinics. These drones provide for the swift transport of life-saving blood to areas that otherwise would be very difficult to reach due to poor road conditions. A similar network is now being constructed for Tanzania, and Zipline also has its eyes set on building up such a network in the U.S.A.
Zipline anticipates an announcement from the FAA in the coming month that will allow for more testing of these drones in American airspace. Regulation, or the lack thereof, is the biggest hurdle for all drone companies looking to make commercial, or even life-saving deliveries. Currently, commercial drones are only allowed to fly below 400 feet, away from airports, during the day and must remain within the sight of its operator. Zipline is currently awaiting approval for a waiver to these rules so it can begin building a commercial network similar to the successful network it has built in Rwanda.
Click here for more details on Zipline’s drone delivery plans.
California farmers impacted by new China tariffs
Nut growers and wine producers in California are expected to lose some attractiveness on the Chinese market as new tariffs on the products are rolled out. In a tit-for-tat trade spat between China and the United States, it is local farmers in California that may initially bear the full brunt of the repercussions. 12% of California’s almond crop went to China in 2016. Those same almond exports will now have an additional 15% tariff tacked on, moving from 10% to 25%. Will China turn elsewhere for their almonds, and if so, can California growers find new buyers for their products? China also brought in $531 million worth of California-grown pistachios in 2016. With this new tariff on the nuts, California growers fear Chinese importers may increasingly turn to Iran for their imports, a top competitor in the space.
As far as wine is concerned, taxes on an imported bottle of wine form the United States will increase from 48.2% to 67.7%. With Chile, New Zealand and Australia also fighting for market share in the growing wine industry in China, these new tariffs are set to put California growers at a distinct disadvantage. Australia, for example, is set to begin exporting almonds, wine and other products to China tariff-free beginning in 2019. Even at the original 48.2% tariffs on a bottle of wine, growers in the U.S. were already at a disadvantage. This new hike in tariffs will only make the situation worse.
Read more on the current trade unrest between China and the U.S. here.
Unmanned logistics services at ports in China expected to expand
The automation of logistics processes and vehicles at ports is picking up steam. TuSimple, a self-driving truck start-up based in China, announced this week that it is very close to launching unmanned port logistics services for commercial use. A total of 10 ports in China are in discussions with TuSimple and have their sights set on rolling out the technology beginning as early as the second half of 2018. Full commercialization of these vehicles is scheduled for 2020 according to the assistant president of TuSimple.
Regulatory challenges in China have proven to be the biggest obstacle to the full commercialization of these autonomous vehicles and services. While 24 states in the U.S. allow for autonomous vehicles to be on the road, just two Chinese cities have approved these types of tests on public roads. However, the country is quickly catching up on this front as there has been a recent relaxation of rules regarding road tests of self-driving cars. TuSimple trucks would operate without a driver at ports and work together with autonomous cranes for the on and off-loading processes. This is an area certainly worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.
Read more about TuSimple’s autonomous trucks at ports here.
Have a great weekend.
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