We might still be waiting to get our coffee delivered by an Amazon Prime Air drone, but Google’s similar Wing service has just been given the green light to do just that, starting in Australia.
Wing, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has been testing its drone delivery service in Australia since 2014. But the service has now been given the green light to start delivering fresh food and over-the-counter meds to 100 homes in North Canberra.
So how does it work? Wing has published the video below to explain the fundamentals, but it’s roughly the same process as ordering any online deliveries.
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You just open the Wing Delivery app, choose some goods from its partners – which so far includes Kickstart Espresso, Capital Chemist, Bakers Delight and Drummond Golf – and it’ll deliver them to your yard “a handful of minutes later”.
It does this by winching down the package outside your house rather than landing, although the trials weren’t without their issues. Wing will apparently be using a quieter drone for its forthcoming deliveries, after some local residents complained about noise, while the local aviation authority has only approved it for daytime deliveries that can’t be before 8am on weekends.
Clearly, there are some hurdles to autonomously fly around before the likes of Wing and Amazon Prime Air make the leap to busier areas like towns and cities. But Wing clearly believes this isn’t just for rural Australia, stating that “by working together with local policymakers, regulators, and communities, we can improve access to services, open up new economic opportunities, and better connect our cities.”
In fact, last year Wing announced that it’ll be starting a trial service in Finland’s capital Helsinki, so its plans to reduce the CO2 emissions of our urban deliveries are, if not exactly ready for take-off, at least being taxied to the runway.
What do you think, are drone deliveries a step forward or do they cause as many problems as they solve? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.