Sweetgreen is partnering with autonomous delivery platform Zipline to enhance its deliveries and reduce its carbon footprint, the companies announced this week.
Zipline is an autonomous robot platform that can deliver up to seven times as fast as traditional automobile delivery, completing 10-mile deliveries in about 10 minutes. The Zipline drone itself is designed to be so quiet that it sounds like rustling leaves.
The drones — or Zips — fly at 300 feet above the ground and are nearly inaudible. Once it is at the correct address, a Zip hovers safely and quietly at that altitude, while its fully autonomous delivery droid maneuvers down a tether, steers to the correct location, and gently drops off its package.
“The future of delivery is faster, more sustainable and creates broader access, all of which provides improved value for our customers,” said Jonathan Neman, co-founder and CEO of Sweetgreen, in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to work with Zipline to complement our delivery strategy. Zipline’s sustainable technology and ability to reach customers quickly, with a great delivery experience, will help us give our customers what they want, when they want it.”
Sweetgreen is planning on using Zipline’s Zips to get closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2027.
By ordering through Zipline’s marketplace, Sweetgreen customers can get their orders using 97% less energy than traditional automotive methods.
Zipline has dual-use docking and charging hardware, software that easily works with third-party inventory management and ordering systems, an app that allows order tracking down to the second, and an autonomy system that has already guided the flight paths of 40 million commercial miles.
Zipline designed its docking and charging hardware to have a light footprint that can be attached to any building or set up as a freestanding structure. A Zip can be easily loaded by an employee who can send off orders in seconds, right from their location, without even having to leave the kitchen.
Each Zip has a 10-mile service radius while carrying a 6–8-pound payload for out-and-back deliveries from a single dock. Alternatively, it can also fly up to 24 miles one way from dock to dock, charging at each dock before picking up its next delivery.
“Over the last decade, global demand for instant delivery has skyrocketed, but the technology we’re using to deliver is 100 years old. We’re still using the same 3,000-pound, gas combustion vehicles, driven by humans, to make billions of deliveries that usually weigh less than 5 pounds. It’s slow, it’s expensive, and it’s terrible for the planet,” said Keller Rinaudo Cliffton, co-founder and CEO of Zipline, in a statement. “Our new service is changing that and will finally make deliveries work for you and around your schedule. We have built the closest thing to teleportation ever created — a smooth, ultrafast, convenient, and truly magical autonomous logistics system that serves all people equally, wherever they are.”