Google has finally launched its commercial air delivery service in Australia. Wing is a subsidiary of its parent company Alphabet and has started delivering coffee, over-the-counter medicines, food, and other products to a small number of people in Canberra, Australia. Along with local businesses, Wing uses drones to transport household items to customers in the northern suburbs of Crace, Franklin, and Palmerston.
According to Wings Medium, during a press release, said their service lets customers order a range of items including fresh food, hot coffee, or over-the-counter items through their mobile app and deliver items directly to their home in a matter of minutes. The company also announced their plans to expand their service to neighboring areas over the next couple of months.
After assessing the company’s operational plans and safety record for several months, the Civilian Aviation Safety Authority approved Wing’s application to operate a drone delivery service. Although there were complaints from local residents about the noise made by drones, CASA has allowed Wing to test their service which has taken place since 2014. They concluded that the drones did not pose a risk to other aircraft or residents.
Wing has full plans to put up community information kiosks and hold delivery demonstrations in areas where the service is offered to make sure residents adjust to the deliveries. Their policy is to protect locals from disturbances so CASA has required Wing to avoid main roads and make deliveries only during day time hours.
Over the past 18 months, drones have made over 3,000 deliveries to various customers in Bonython, Fernleigh Park, and Royalla communities as an introduction to the official launching of their service. During this period of time, residents outside of Canberra started the Bonython Against Drones campaign to complain about the noise being caused by the drones.
On their website, they said that when the drones hover over a site, it sounds like an extremely loud squealing vacuum cleaner.
All said and done, CASA has been ordered to come up with a quieter drone when dropping off deliveries. The Australian aviation authority directed Wing to conduct deliveries during the weekdays only between 700 am and 8:00 pm. Wing complied and said the feedback they received during the trials has been valuable to help them refine their operations to meet the needs and expectations of the communities.
Businesses that have partnered with Wing include Bakers Delight, Capital Chemist, Jasper + Myrtle, Kickstart Expresso, Guzman Y Gomez, and Drummond Golf. Wing is reaching out to form partnerships with other companies in the future, especially those who are looking to reach more customers faster, safer, and more sustainably.
Wing is projecting that when at full capacity, their drone delivery service could add as much as $28 million to Australia’s annual expansion.