Google launches its first delivery service by drones
Wing, the Alphabet subsidiary dedicated to delivery drones, has opened its first commercial service in the suburbs of Canberra in Australia. These machines can deliver food, medicine and groceries in minutes.
After several years of development, Google has just inaugurated a drone delivery service in Australia via its subsidiary Wing . Initially, the offer will be limited to one hundred eligible residences in several cities in the suburbs of Canberra: Crace, Palmerston and Franklin. Google plans to expand the service to the cities of Harrison and Gungahlin in the coming months. Customers will be able to order products from their smartphone on the mobile application Wing. For the moment, the choice of food is limited to snacks, medicines and groceries. the dronescan carry packages up to 1.5 kg .
It was in August 2014 that Google unveiled its delivery drone project that it began testing in Australia. Since then, the design of drones has evolved significantly compared to the initial prototype. The new models have fixed wings with propellers to fly horizontally like an airplane, as well as 12 rotors for vertical takeoffs and landings and hovering during delivery.
The parcel is hooked to a bunny and travels under the belly of the device. Arrived at its delivery point, the drone hovers seven meters above the ground and drops the package with a motorized winch. Once the package on the ground , the grapple is released and the drone can restart. Navigation is autonomous but professional remote pilots monitor the flight continuously and can regain control at any time. Speed ??is one of the arguments put forward by Wing that the shortest command took just 2 minutes 43 seconds between validation and delivery to the customer.
Wing has reduced the noise of its drones
In the last 18 months, Wing has delivered more than 3,000 deliveries in different neighborhoods and has already learned several interesting lessons from user feedback. Starting with the noise generated by drones that was, it seems, disturbing. ” Our drones are quieter than a range of typical noises in a suburb, but they produce a unique sound that people probably do not know ,” says Wing. The company has developed new propellers, quieter, and produce a more serious sound. On the other hand, the flight speed has been reduced to lower the noise level and the UAV routes have been modified.
The other issue that has probably raised questions among users is the presence of a camera on the drone and its exact use. Wing states that his aircraft actually have a fixed camera that is “exclusively” for emergency navigation in the event of an error or failure of the GPS . The lens is pointed down, the images are in gray level and are not accessible in real time. ” In practice, people who do not use our service will not be recognizable on an image while our drone flies to its delivery destination “, Assures the subsidiary of Google adding that access to these images is limited to a small number of engineers and that it is” verified “. After Australia, the service will be launched during the spring in Finland in the Helsinki region.
Project Wing: Google also unveils delivery drones
Initial article of Marc Zaffagni , the 30/08/2014
Google has introduced its own drone delivery project called Project Wing . Tested currently in Australia, it is very similar to the Prime Air service unveiled at the end of 2013 by Amazon.
Google clearly does not intend to let Amazon occupy the land of delivery by drones alone. While the US e-commerce giant presented its service last year, called Prime Air and is now working to change the legislation to test in the United States, the firm Mountain View has just revealed a competing project named Project Wing .
Like Prime Air , Google’s drone delivery program is in full development. At the BBC, the American company explains that it was born two years ago, in his laboratory Google X Lab , like other very futuristic projects before him ( Internet via balloons-probes, glasses augmented reality Google Glass , modular phone, car automatic Google cars , etc.).
Tested in Australia, Google drones have a wingspan of about 1.5 meters and rely on four propellers. Each aerodyne weighs 8.5 kg and can carry a package weighing up to 1.5 kg. During delivery, the aircraft hovers at several tens of meters above the ground and in a virtually vertical position. A winch is then activated to bring the package down to the ground.
More than a delivery service
To highlight the interest of the Wing project , Google has highlighted the role that its drones could play in assisting populations. Following a natural disaster , they could indeed support the government by bringing drugs, food or basic equipment, as the roads are impassable (that said, the helicopters already fulfill this role).
Even if one does not prevent the other, Google probably wants to use the project Wing in its commercial activities. Remember that the American company thought very early to launch a home delivery service ( Google Shopping Express ). At the end of 2013, it became reality with a launch in San Francisco, before being extended to New York and Los Angeles.
Google will undeniably be a major opponent for Amazon and its Prime Air service , which must deliver items of less than 2.5 kg in 30 minutes maximum after the order. The giant e-commerce plans to continue the development of its program in the coming years. Then a commercial launch is provided if of course the legislation changes by then.