Zipline’s Approach to Safety

Committed to making and operating the safest system of its kind in the world.

Zipline’s Commitment to Safety

As the world’s leading autonomous, instant delivery service, Zipline is building a global logistics system that brings all people of the world what they need, when they need it – safely, reliably, quietly, and with minimal impact on the planet. Our solution has been implemented and brought to scale to serve millions of individuals across Ghana, Rwanda, an archipelago in Japan, and in the U.S..Through these experiences, we’ve learned the profound impact of a supply chain re-imagined by instant delivery.  Each of these miles flown across varied settings and use cases, has taught us, and continues to teach us, how we can optimize customer experiences - keeping safety and reliability at top priority - to inevitably transform the way we live and how we access what we need.

Our Safety Features:

Technology Testing and Evaluation

Zipline engineers spend years developing and testing our technology hardware and software to ensure its capability to safely, reliably, precisely, and effectively deliver what people need, exactly when and where they need it. Our team is continuously innovating to advance the safety and reliability of our aircraft and operations.

Safety Management System (SMS)

By adopting international aviation standards and industry best practices, our ever-growing safety program aims at leading the drone industry in managing risk and operating safely.

Pre-flight Technology and Decision-making

In addition to tip-to-tip inspection by a Zipline team member, our drones perform automated pre-flight system checks to ensure that each is safe and ready for flight before a delivery takes place. Integrated data from maintenance and flight records enable our operators to make informed decisions about flights and safety. Weather and air traffic are also monitored by our trained aviation professionals to ensure safety of the flight.

On-board Redundancy and Fault Tolerance

To maintain the highest standards of safety, our zips feature numerous redundant, or back-up systems. For example, each Zip has two electric motors, two GPS navigation systems, and multiple communications systems. If one of these systems fails, the back-up activates automatically. Although Zips fly autonomously, our professional aviation teams closely track and monitor each flight through our custom-developed monitoring system.

Preflight inspections, redundant functional systems, and monitoring by our operations team provide three layers of operational redundancy to optimize the safety of our flights.

Paraland System

In the unlikely event that one of our drones needs to land quickly, such as because of a sudden weather event, we’ve built a unique, additional layer of protection: our Parachute Landing System. Zipline’s Paraland System is one of our proudest safety features. If our operators, or the computers onboard the Zip determine the best course of action is to remove the drone from the airspace, this whole-aircraft parachute is deployed, which allows the drone to gently land. The frangible design of our Zips minimize damage to anything on the ground.

Before commercial delivery operations, we rigorously tested our technology, logging thousands of miles in test flights across varying environments.

Some of the most talented engineers in the world work for Zipline, building, testing, and evaluating our Zips and systems to ensure quality, safety, speed, and reliability.

Zipline's preflight process not only includes physical aircraft inspection by a team member, but also leverages state-of-the-art technology that allows the drone and systems to conduct automated self checks.

Our drones are designed with redundant motors, navigation and communication systems, so our Zips can keep flying even if one of these systems were to fail.

Zipline has a comprehensive training and qualification program for its flight and maintenance teams, including specific safety and security trainings.

Although our drones fly autonomously, our professional aviation operators are closely tracking and monitoring our operations and the airspace.

We proudly operate in close partnership with aviation safety regulators. In the U.S., Zipline participates in the FAA’s BEYOND program for UAS integration and has a Partnership for Safety Plan with the FAA.

Zipline's current Paraland System has been in production service since 2018 and has been successfully deployed in both test and production operations. It consists of a whole-aircraft parachute that enables the system, or an operator, to safely and quickly remove the drone from the airspace, such as in a sudden weather event.

Our drones are specifically designed for reliable, quick, and quiet delivery. They deliver their packages into designated delivery zones via a small parachute, estimating wind and adjusting drop locations to optimize for accuracy. Each delivery site is vetted for safety.

On returning home, our drone recovers via a capture line that automatically adjusts to catch and quickly decelerate the drone.

Zipline operates in close partnership with aviation safety regulators.

Zipline participates in the FAA’s BEYOND program for UAS integration and has a UAS Partnership for Safety Plan (PSP) with the FAA.

At Zipline, safety isn't a goal. It's a requirement.

Matt Hernandez
Zipline Head of Safety and Commercial Helicopter Pilot

Zipline’s mission and commitment to changing what’s possible requires us to lead in both safety and innovation.

Lauren Haertlein
Zipline Aviation Regulatory Counsel (and commercial pilot, ASEL, AMEL)

With so many flights crossing the skies in populated and unpopulated areas, we put a lot of thought into adding safety features into every drone we develop and the entire system supporting it.

Keenan Wyrobek
Co-founder and CTO

Zipline's commitment to safety is reflected in the rigor and professionalism of every part of its operations.

Joseph Marshall
Director US Flight Operations (commercial pilot [AMEL/ASEL] and certified flight instructor)

Zipline's safety culture hinges on a strong sense of global responsibility.

Obed Frimpong
Africa aviation reg and compliance lead

Committed to innovating and operating at the highest levels of safety

Zipline views aviation and first responder outreach as a fundamental pillar for ensuring safe integration into the national airspace system. Many of our team members are military and GA pilots themselves. We work closely with all local aviation communities, everywhere we operate, to ensure that we share the sky safely. Our partnerships and engagement often extends to include:

  • Local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO)
  • Airport authorities
  • Flight schools
  • Aircraft rental companies
  • Helicopter operators (news, police, medivac, etc.)
  • Public and private airport managers (including seaplane bases)
  • Fixed Based Operators (FBOs)
  • Nearby military units
  • Local hobbyist organizations (gliders, balloons, ultralights, remote control, etc.)
  • Local police, fire and other first responders
ARGUS Rating Logo

ARGUS Rating

Zipline is an ARGUS gold UAS operator. The ARGUS Unmanned Ratings Program is the only rating system in the UAS industry that scores operators based on their organizational and certification documents. Its foundation is formed from the similar ARGUS Rating for charter operations.