Google's Wing drones approved for public deliveries in Australia



Wing, the drone delivery company owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet, is launching its first public drone delivery service in Canberra, Australia, after the country's aeronautical authorities granted regulatory approval. About 100 homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin will first access the service, but over the next few months, the company plans to expand it to Harrison and Gungahlin homes.

The service works in partnership with local businesses, including coffee shops and pharmacies, to deliver their products "in minutes". Wing's regulatory approval is subject to restrictions. Drones will not be allowed to fly over main roads. They will be allowed to fly only between 7am and 8pm Monday to Friday (or between 8am and 8pm on Sunday) and they will be prohibited from flying too close to people. Customers from eligible households will also receive a safety briefing on interactions with drones.

According to Wing, deliveries of UAVs could represent a value ranging from 30 to 40 million Australian dollars to companies in the region. According to them, drones could deliver up to one out of four orders by 2030.

Internal business reports that the Australian regulator, CASA, said the launch would be "very likely" a world first. This means that Google's drone delivery company beat Amazon to offer a commercial service to the general public. Despite a number of high-profile trial deliveries in the United Kingdom and the United States, Amazon's service has not yet been commercially launched. Last year, a spokeswoman for Amazon said at the Associated press that the company is still "determined to make our goal to deliver parcels by drones in 30 minutes or less a reality".

Wing became a full-fledged company under the Alphabet Business Group last year alongside Waymo and Loon, having been ranked in the X moonshot projects category. In December, Wing announced the launch of a test service in Finland, in which it would offer free deliveries in 10 minutes in the capital.

It's not just Amazon that is competing with Wing for delivering drones. The Israeli start-up Flytrex started testing its own drone logistics service in Iceland in 2017 and Flirtey was delivering commercial drone deliveries for 7-Eleven in the United States as of 2016. More recently, UPS has partnered with Matternet to experiment with the use of UAVs supplies in North Carolina.


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