Alphabet's subsidiary Wing launches drone delivery service in Australia

Alphabet's subsidiary Wing launches drone delivery service in Australia

Medicine, food, drinks and coffee delivered straight to your location via airborne drone.

A suburban pipedream? Not anymore, it seems.

Drone manufacturer Wing has launched its new air delivery service, bringing the future to the doorstep of a handful of Canberrans.

Wing's drones work by flying to a designated business or home and picking up a package which is tethered to a sturdy cable.

The package is then raised up to where the drone hovers at a safe distance, preventing theft or damage.

The drone then maps the best route to its destination, which is designated via a mobile app, and follows the flight path which also includes plans to avoid buildings, trees and other obstacles.

It then drops off the goods at the destination, again lowering the package from a safe height via cable.

The Wing drone in action

The service is currently only available to 100 eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin, but over the coming months Wing plans to expand its radius.

Wing is a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and its fleet of drones have so far delivered food, small household items and over the counter chemist products more than 3,000 times during testing phases around the country.

Initial partners of Canberra's new drone delivery service include Kickstart Expresso, Chemist Warehouse. Pure Gelato and Guzman Y Gomez.

Terrance Bouldin-Johnson, head of Australian operations at wing, says initial feedback on the system has been mostly positive and valuable in ironing out any operational kinks.

"The feedback we have received during the trials has been valuable, helping us to refine our operations to better meet the needs and expectations of the communities in which we operate," says Bouldin-Johnson.

"We will continue to engage with the local community and stakeholders as we expand our service and are hosting community information stalls and delivery demonstrations in the serviceable areas over the next few weeks."

A report by AlphaBeta released in November last year estimated that drone delivery could add $30-40 million in revenue for ACT businesses, as well as a $12 million reduction in delivery costs per year by 2030.

Small drone delivery produces 99 percent less emissions than deliveries made by car and if even a small proportion of deliveries and pickups by car and truck are shifted to drones, congestion in the ACT could also be reduced by as many 35 million vehicle kilometres per year.

Drone delivery is expected to mostly benefit the elderly and people with mobility issues.

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