Google follows Amazon by testing drone deliveries
- 2nd September 2014
- Innovation & Technology
Amazon isn’t the only firm investigating the use of drones for package delivery, since it has emerged that Google is following suit.
Amazon raised eyebrows when it emerged in November that the e-commerce giant was trialling a system that used drones to deliver packages. Not to be outdone, Google is testing a new system of its own.
Project Wing has been in the works for two years, and is being tested by Google’s X division in the Darling Downs in Queensland, Australia. Earlier this month, the remote location became the testing ground for the first trials that included personnel from outside Google, and it seems that tough terrain might be one of its core focuses.
Astro Teller, Google X director, said the company is aiming to develop a system that could drop small and medium-sized packages to anyone, anywhere, in a matter of minutes.
That could potentially mean anything from emergency supplies drops to online purchases would become much faster.
Originally reported in The Atlantic, the system as it is currently being tested involves an unusual “tail sitter” design – a cross between a plan and a helicopter that hovers and winches packages to ground level. Electronics on the end of that tether detect contact with the ground, the cable detaches and the dispatch system is pulled back up into the drone.
Although there is not yet a reliable shopping system in place from which Google users can place an order for drone delivery, Google believes that it is close to overcoming the challenges.
Dozens of Google staff are reportedly working on the project on everything from user experience to new forms of aircraft. It seems inevitable that the service will take off eventually.
“What excited us from the beginning was that if the right thing could find anybody just in the moment that they need it, the world might be radically better place,” Teller told The Atlantic.
The repercussions of Project Wing could reach any number of sectors. But with Amazon’s Prime Delivery working on a similar basis, it seems that shipping is the next big battleground for e-commerce. To the customer, buying and receiving a product are part of the same purchasing experience, and major tech giants are investing heavily in creating a better end-to-end experience.
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