Alphabet Inc’s Wing drone service on Tuesday made its first air delivery in Australia, after getting approval from the country’s civil aviation authority.
Wing said the delivery service will be available to a limited set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin and would gradually expand to customers in Harrison and Gungahlin.
"Wing has been testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014. Over the past 18 months, Wing has delivered food, small household items and over the counter chemist products more than 3,000 times to Australian homes in Fernleigh Park, Royalla and Bonython communities," it said in a blog post.
Wong's delivery service allows Australian customers to order a range of items such as fresh food, hot coffee or over-the-counter chemist items on Wing's mobile app, and have them delivered directly to their homes by drone in minutes.
Wing has teamed up with local Canberra businesses: Kickstart Expresso, Capital Chemist, Pure Gelato, Jasper + Myrtle, Bakers Delight, Guzman Y Gomez, and Drummond Golf.
Wing was spun out of Alphabet’s X research division in July last year to become an independent company within Alphabet and is part of the Other Bets division.
Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said here on Tuesday Wing's "operation meets an acceptable level of safety" and it works within the guidelines for commercial drone operators flying over 2kg.
Wing's drones feature a light design and can fly up to 120 km/h, driven entirely by an all-electric power system. The delivery drones fly up to 400 ft above the ground and can deliver packages to a location the size of a doorstep. Machine learning algorithms help the drone find a safe and convenient location for delivery amongst obstacles like trees, buildings, and power lines.
Wing's team completed their first real-world deliveries in 2014 in rural Queensland, Australia where they successfully transported a first-aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water to farmers. Then in September 2016, the team delivered burritos to students at Virginia Tech in what was, at the time, the largest and longest drone delivery test on U.S. soil.
Most recently, the drones completed hundreds of deliveries to the yards of several homes in the Australian Capital Territory and Queanbeyan regions of Australia. The goal was to determine how to find the best route to a home and how to find a safe delivery spot in the yard.
Over the past 18 months, Wing has delivered food, small household items and over the counter chemist products more than 3,000 times to Australian homes in Fernleigh Park, Royalla and Bonython communities.
Wing had said in December it would launch its first European delivery service in Finland in the spring of 2019.
E-commerce giant Amazon.com has also announced “Prime Air”, a future delivery system designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes using drones.