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World first as Google drones deliver KFC in Queensland

written by Adam Thorn | February 4, 2022

Google Wing drones will soon fly KFC to homes and offices in Logan, Queensland. 

The move marks the tech giant’s first big move globally to take over the $272 billion food delivery market and will likely worry rivals such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo, given Google’s AI-powered devices are quicker and cheaper than cars and bikes.

Wing launched commercially in Canberra and Logan in 2019 and currently allows for the delivery of packages that weigh less than 1.5 kilograms from a variety of shops that sell household and perishable goods, including coffees and sandwiches.

The business now conducts more deliveries in Australia than in any other country and has previously dubbed Logan the “drone delivery capital of the world”.

Its latest development will see KFC franchise partner Collins Food create a “cloud kitchen” that will prepare meals ready for delivery. The service will initially launch to a small number of households in the south-east Queensland suburbs of Kingston, Logan Central, Slacks Creek, Underwood and Woodridge, before expanding to include other nearby locations.

It significantly marks the first time Google Wing has worked with one of the major fast-food outlets anywhere in the world.

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“We’ve seen a significant increase in use of our on-demand drone delivery service in south-east Queensland,” said Wing’s Queensland city manager, Dave Ojiako-Pettit.

“Wing made more than 100,000 deliveries to the Logan community in 2021, with many customers finding on-demand drone delivery especially useful as they stayed home and relied on our contactless service to deliver the things they needed.”

Wing started life in 2012 as one of the first projects at the tech giant’s super-secretive research lab, Google X, alongside its augmented reality eyeglasses and self-driving cars. It launched its first trials in 2018 before starting more commercial flights the following year in both Canberra and Logan.

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.

Jesse Suskin, the business head of government relations said last year, “Wing saw a 500 per cent increase in deliveries worldwide in 2020 over 2019, and we’ve continued to grow at a similar rate in 2021; we completed more deliveries globally in the second quarter of 2021 than in the entire year of 2020.”

In October, Australian Aviation reported how Wing drones were picking up packages from the roof of a Logan shopping mall to deliver to customers in the area.

The development was another major milestone because previously, retailers had to co-locate in the tech giant’s distribution centres rather than being able to work from their own stores.

Shops within the mall participating include Sushi Hub, Boost Juice, Chatime and TerryWhite Chemmart.

In issue 382 of the Australian Aviation print magazine, we took an exclusive look at Google Wing’s operation behind-the-scenes. To find out more and subscribe, click here.

Comments (2)

  • Rob

    says:

    Be interesting watching drones trying to deliver KFC around were I live near Ballarat. I think the Wedge Tail eagles would appreciate the new source of food …

  • Razza

    says:

    Skeet shooting with prizes

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