Google’s ‘Wing’ Division Begins First-Ever U.S. Consumer Drone Delivery Service
Last week, Wing, a Google spinoff began delivering consumer packages to residents in Christianburg, Virginia. This was the first deliveries of their kind in the United States.
Wing is now “the first company to operate a commercial air delivery service via drone directly to homes in the United States,” says a Wing company blog post. “Wing’s FAA permissions are the first to allow multiple pilots to oversee multiple unmanned aircraft making commercial deliveries simultaneously to the general public, paving the way for the most advanced drone delivery service in the nation.”
Wing is collaborating with FedEx Express, Walgreens and a local Virginia retailer, Sugar Magnolia.
Christiansburg resident Paul Sensmeier ordered a pink vest from Dick’s Sporting Goods as a birthday gift for his wife. The last mile of that FedEx Express delivery, which would normally be via truck, was completedd with a Wing drone.
The trial will continue in the coming months, and Wing and MAAP plan to keep working with Christiansburg.
“As exciting as this launch is, what’s going to be most rewarding is seeing how the community responds to this technology as it becomes part of the fabric of everyday life,” said MAAP director Mark Blanks in a statement.
In Wing’s blog post, the company described an ordering scenario in which customers use their services: “Minutes after our customers order from the Wing app from Walgreens or local Virginia retailer Sugar Magnolia, our lightweight aircraft delivers directly to their homes. Similarly, customers can opt in to receive scheduled FedEx Express deliveries by drone. Upon arrival, the aircraft gently lowers the package to a small, designated location in the yard or driveway, before returning to Wing’s “Nest” in North Christiansburg.”
While Wing began testing delivery to suburban homes in Australia over a year ago, this is the first time that a company has performed a wider scale, complete end-to-end delivery solution to the consumer’s doorstep in the U.S. It’s a significant move as a demonstration of the potential for commercial drone delivery.