Autonomous delivery drone startup Zipline has hit its one million deliveries to customers milestone and is now looking to make restaurant partnerships to further boost its growth, the company said on Friday (19 April).

The US startup builds and deploys autonomous delivery drones for large brands such as Walmart and over 4,700 hospitals nationwide. 

Zipline has so far raised over $500m from multiple investors including Google Venture and Sequoia Capital. 

The US startup said its zero-emission drones have flown over 70 million autonomous commercial miles across four continents. 

“If Zipline’s autonomous software was a human pilot, it would have already spent more than 120 years flying in the air,” the company wrote in a blog post.

Zipline co-founder Ryan Oksenhorn said the company aims to do one million deliveries every day.

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“Over the past decade, we’ve worked hard to build a system that scaled to one million paid customer deliveries,” Oksenhorn said. “In the near future, I believe that one million deliveries will be unremarkable as we reach a million deliveries in a year, in a month, in a day.”

As the company expands, Zipline is partnering with several restaurants, including Jet’s Pizza restaurant chain. The chain has over 400 locations across 22 states and the drone delivery orders will begin in Detroit. According to Zipline, its drone can carry two large Detroit-style pizzas along with sides.

“Having the best pizza in the world doesn’t matter if it doesn’t arrive fresh from the oven. Zipline will let us expand our delivery area to bring great, hot food to even more of our loyal customers,” said John Jetts, CEO of Jet’s Pizza.

“With Zipline, customers will get a magical and consistent end-to-end Jet’s experience regardless of traffic or weather,” he added.

The growing importance of technologies such as computer vision, simultaneous localisation and mapping, and reinforcement learning are further fueling the growth of AI integration in drone controls, according to GlobalData.

In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1m patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report AI in technology: drone controls AI.