A hot potato: One of Alphabet's startup companies has beaten Amazon to commercializing a drone delivery service. Wing is now officially launching its services in Australia to residents of Canberra, who can have certain goods delivered within minutes.
Startup company Wing is one of the many projects managed by Google's parent, Alphabet. Wing has received approval from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority to begin delivery of goods via commercially operated drones.
Wing's delivery services are going to be extremely limited in Canberra, Australia. Approximately 100 homes will be eligible to select drone delivery through a dedicated app. Those that are able to receive packages via drone are supposed to receive their order within minutes.
In a demo of the service, coffee shop Kickstart Expresso loaded an order of food and drinks into a takeout bag for aerial delivery. Other eligible items for delivery include medicine, fresh foods, and ice cream. Current flights are expected to take around five minutes, with the shortest routes taking just three minutes.
For safety reasons, Wing's drones must remain more than 16 feet above any humans and at least 6.5 feet clear horizontally. Deliveries must also only take place after 7 AM Monday through Saturday and after 8 AM on Sundays. Anyone who does order something with drone delivery will also be given a safety briefing reminding them not to retrieve their items until the drone has retreated a safe distance.
Although Wing's services are highly limited in scope, the company has already completed more than 3,000 drone deliveries during its testing phases. Going forward, the startup has plenty of opportunity to capitalize on its early experience in this new field.