Google’s drone delivery service, Wing, is set to expand to new locations in Australia in the coming months after successful trials in Canberra and Logan, Queensland.
The business’ head of policy and government affairs, Margaret Nagle, revealed orders have soared 500 per cent because of COVID-19 as customers seek to obtain goods in a contactless way.
Wing first launched in Canberra last year and currently allows for the delivery of packages that weigh less than 1.5 kilograms from a variety of retailers who sell household goods.
The business, a subsidiary of Google owner Alphabet, first launched in 2012 and has conducted more than 100,000 flights worldwide.
Once a customer submits an order via the app, the drone flies to pick up the package at the designated delivery centre, before climbing to a cruise height of 45 metres and flying to the destination.
Once there, it hovers and lowers the package to the ground, automatically unclipping the parcel without assistance from the customer.
Speaking at the AFR’s Future Briefing virtual conference, Nagle said, “We’ve seen use worldwide … increase due to COVID and customers want to access goods in a contactless way.
“We’ve seen a 500 per cent increase in [deliveries] from February to April, including thousands in Australian in that timeframe.
“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.
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“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.”
Last week, one of the key figures formulating Australia’s drone policy predicted the country will eventually need to use machine learning AI to control our crowded airspace.
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.
Moore was talking to Australian Aviation as part of a drone special edition set to be published early next month. To subscribe, click here.
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