Wing, an offshoot of Google's parent company, Alphabet, will launch drone deliveries to one of Finland's most populous areas next month according to a recent blog post from the company. Pilot deliveries will be rolled out in the Vousari district of Finland's capital, Helsinki, and will deliver products from gourmet supermarket Herkku foods and Cafe Monami. As noted by Wing, deliveries will include'fresh Finnish pastries, meatballs for two, and a range of other meals and snacks' that can be delivered in minutes. Wing will launch deliveries for customers in Finland starting next month. Wing, the first commercial drone company approved by the FAA in the U.S. will start delivering in Virginia.
For years tech companies such as Amazon, Alphabet and Uber have promised us delivery drones bringing goods to our doorsteps in a matter of minutes. So why are they taking so long to arrive? If our skies are to become as crowded as our streets, airspace rules need updating to prevent accidents, terrorist attacks, and related problems, such as noise pollution. But that's easier said than done. According to a recent study by Nasa, the noise made by road traffic was "systematically judged to be less annoying" than the high-pitched buzzing made by drones.
As of this afternoon, select residents of Christiansburg, Virginia can tap drones operated by Google parent company Alphabet's Wing for quick and easy deliveries of packages, over-the-counter medications, snacks, and gifts. The company today revealed that it's become the first to operate a commercial air delivery service directly to homes in the U.S., with the launch of a previously announced pilot involving FedEx Express, Walgreens, and local Virginia retailer Sugar Magnolia. From Walgreens, the first retail pharmacy to partner with Wing in the U.S., drone fleets will ferry over-the-counter medicines and other wellness items to folks' homes. And on the FedEx Express side, recipients living within designated Christiansburg zones who opt in will receive some shipments via drone, in customized boxes. Most orders within the four-mile radius of Wing's distribution facility are fulfilled within about 10 minutes, according to the company.
Americans could see a lot more drones flying around their communities as the result of a Trump administration test program to increase government and commercial use of the unmanned aircraft. President Trump gave the go-ahead Wednesday, signing a directive intended to increase the number and complexity of drone flights. The presidential memo would allow exemptions from current safety rules so communities could move ahead with testing of drone operations. States, communities and Native American tribes selected to participate would devise their own trial programs in partnership with government and industry drone users. The Federal Aviation Administration would review each program.
Google parent Alphabet Inc. plans this month to use drones to deliver burritos to a small number of staff and students at Virginia Tech, a limited test of the tech giant's ambitious plans to quicken deliveries with unmanned aircraft. In the tests, drones from Alphabet's research lab, X, will ferry burritos from a Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. CMG -0.49 % food truck to an official several hundred feet away, who will distribute the orders to waiting customers, Alphabet said. The flights will mark X's first drone deliveries in the U.S. to people who aren't Alphabet employees. Drone-delivery startup Flirtey Inc. delivered medicine to a rural health clinic last year, in another test. Alphabet said its test will entail a few hundred deliveries to students and staff from a nearby office building.