Wing drones to deliver hardware supplies to tradesmen
Tradesmen in Logan, Australia have been asking drone delivery company Wing Aviation to start delivering hardware supplies to their job sites by drone.
After launching its drone delivery service in late 2019, Wing Aviation, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, found itself in a prime position to deliver products to residents of the Logan suburbs of Crestmead and Marsden during the COVID-19 restrictions.
The Wing drones would deliver everyday items such as fresh coffee, toilet paper, and even roast chicken to residents who were not able to go to the stores. It did not take long though for tradesmen to realize that these drones could also deliver hardware supplies to their work sites.
One of the first companies to partner with Wing was Browns Plains Hardware store. Jesse Suskin, the drone company’s head of public policy said that they soon realized that their delivery service was not just valuable to residents but also to tradesmen.
“Even as we were getting our warehouse site up and running, tradies would come by and all would say it would be great to have at worksites,” Mr Suskin said according to the Brisbane Times. “They got really excited by it. Also in Logan, a lot of our retail customers were also tradies and they were telling us the same thing, that it could be really useful.”
Wing’s drone delivery service was originally designed to deliver packages to fixed street addresses, however, the tradesmen’s requests made the company realize that they could deliver anywhere. The company is now looking to expand their service.
Paul Charlton from Browns Plains Hardware commented that he had received positive feedback from the contractors and tradesmen.
“If you’re working on someone’s house and you run out of the right screws, you’ve got to pack up, get to the nearest hardware store and get back, it can take half an hour at least, while we know Wing can do it in seven minutes,” Mr. Charlton said. “There was a landscape gardener earlier in the year who ran short of whipper-snipper line and called up a drone and the extra line was delivered before he had to go to the next job.”
Wing delivers its packages from a central warehouse location where it keeps supplies from the retail partners. The wing drones can carry packages of about two pounds.
To use the service customers simply download the Wing app on their smartphone, order and pay for their products, and the drone will deliver the items right to their location.
Wing received approval from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority and is allowed to use their delivery drones in the suburbs of Logan. Any expansion of their business will have to be approved by the air safety regulator.
“It’s a little bit frustrating for me that they’re only doing two or three suburbs, I want them to expand to all of Brisbane, it’s such a great service,” Mr. Charlton said.
According to Mr. Suskin, Wing plans to expand its business to neighboring suburbs and to other customers such as tradesmen at the same time.
“Right now we’re in three suburbs, we just added Berrinba after being in Crestmead and Marsden for some time, but stay tuned on news for expansion, it will happen soon,” he said.
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Photo credit: Wing and Brisbane Times