Why it matters: Wing's FAA approval will pave the way for other drone operators to do the same. And because Wing has already worked out which rules apply to drone operators and which don't, the process should be far more seamless for others.
Alphabet subsidiary Wing has become the first drone operator to receive Air Carrier Certification by the Federal Aviation Administration, giving the company the green light to begin delivering goods to customers in the states.
US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao described it as an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy.
Wing, along with moonshot project Loon, graduated from the ranks of X (formerly Google X) to independent businesses under the Alphabet umbrella last summer. X CEO Astro Teller said at the time that the divisions were ready to operate outside the prototyping-focused environment of X.
Drone delivery could have a profound impact on communities across the country. Things like food and medicine can be delivered faster by drone, giving busy individuals more free time. Aerial delivery could also make life easier for those with mobility issues and will reduce both traffic and pollution.
Wing has already logged more than 70,000 test flights and conducted over 3,000 deliveries in Australia. The next step, the company said, will be to conduct further tests in the communities of Blacksburg and Christiansburg in Virginia ahead of a broader rollout later this year.
Lead image courtesy Charles Mostoller, Bloomberg