Google's Wing expands drone deliveries in Australia after 500% surge
Orders have soared 500 percent because of COVID-19 as customers seek to obtain goods in a contactless way, says business' head of policy and government affairs, Margaret Nagle, according to Australian Aviation.
Wing's drone delivery service was first started in Canberra in 2019 and allows for the delivery of packages that weigh less than roughly 3 pounds from a selection of retailers selling household products.
Since Wing's operations were first started in 2012, the company has conducted more than 100,000 drone flights worldwide.
Wing's drone delivery service works as follows. First, a customer submits an order via an app on their phone. The Wing drone flies to pick up the package at the designated delivery center before climbing to a cruising altitude of roughly 150 feet on its way to the final destination. When the drone arrives at hoovers in place while lowering the package to the ground, automatically unclipping it without any help from the customer.
“We've seen use worldwide … increase due to COVID and customers want to access goods in a contactless way. We've seen a 500 percent increase in [deliveries] from February to April, including thousands in Australian in that timeframe,” Nagle said while speaking at the AFR's Future Briefing virtual conference.
“Local businesses have highlighted that they see this as a valuable way to reach their customers. We've seen this service offer value and be a small help. We also see a lot of potential for healthcare uses, and certainly see future use cases around a child needing an inhaler at the playground and being able to get it to that child in minutes rather than wait for an ambulance to come.”
Simon Moore, an assistant secretary of aviation safety and future technology at the Department of Infrastructure, said he thinks there will one day be “hundreds of thousands” of drones in the sky.
“The numbers of things that are flying in the sky is going to increase quite dramatically,” he said.
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