Google’s Wing Launches Drone Delivery in Canberra

If you happen to live around Canberra, Australia, you might see an increase in sky traffic. No, they aren’t birds or planes, but rather drones. Delivery drones that is and they are courtesy of Google.

Owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, Wing will soon be making drone deliveries around the Aussie capital. The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is calling it the world’s first commercial drone delivery service. Wing will be partnering will local businesses to deliver things like fresh food, coffee, and medications.

Drone Deliveries Via Wing App

Customers order via the Wing app and items can be “delivered within minutes”. Once the drone reaches its destination, it will hover about 20 feet above the ground, lower the package on a line and then detach. During testing, the average delivery time was 6-10 minutes.

The drones are designed to fly both day and night and are capable of safely delivering a package in a strong breeze and rain. They are designed with redundant motors, batteries and even navigation systems with intelligent controls so backup systems can help keep aircraft safely in flight. The drones can fly as high 400 feet and can carry packages up to 3.5 pounds.

Wing software automatically calculates the route from the launch site to the customer, taking into account regulatory restrictions. The flight plan is then uploaded to the drone.

Drone Service to Start in Canberra Suburbs

The service will be initially offered to around 100 homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston, and Franklin.  In the coming months it will be expanded to include Harrison and Gungahlin.

There are some restrictions to the drone service. They can fly between the hours of 7am and 8pm, Monday through Friday. On Sundays the hours are 8am to 8pm. Drones will not be flying over main roads and will have to keep at least 6 feet away from people.

Wing has been testing drone deliveries in Australia since 2014 with about 3000 flights to homes in Fernleigh Park, Royalla and Bonython.

Google Wing Drone Delivery Canberra Australia - YellRobot
credit: Wing

Drone Delivery Helps Environment

Along with convenience, drone delivery has other bonuses. It can increase revenue and greatly reduce delivery costs for local businesses.  Drone deliveries can also make things easier for those who may have limited mobility. A service like Wing’s could make Canberra a more accessible place to live for the 13,000 disabled and 6,700 elderly in the area.

Using drones rather than vehicles to make deliveries can also have a positive impact on the environment. Along with helping to reduce road congestion, drone delivery can help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Road transportation accounts for about 69% of Canberra’s emissions.

Initially launch partners will include: Kickstart Expresso, Capital Chemist, Pure Gelato, Jasper + Myrtle, Bakers Delight, Guzman Y Gomez, and Drummond Golf. Wing is hoping to partner with more local businesses as the service becomes more popular.

According to Wing, drone deliveries could be worth as much as AU$30 to AU$40 million to businesses in Canberra and could account for 25% of all takeaway orders by 2030.

Check out our articles on drones patrolling cities and bringing the bible to life in virtual reality.