Alphabet company, X, will begin trialling their drone delivery system Project Wing in the Canberra region with co-project leader James Ryan Burgess saying the company intends to be here for the forseeable future.
Project Wing was introduced publicly in 2014 when the drone delivered a package of Cherry Ripes to a QLD farmer. Alphabet company, formerly Google X, now simply X, builds delivery drones the eventual development of a new commerce system that uses the sky to deliver ‘everything from consumer goods to emergency medicine’.
The trial of Project Wing will take place just outside of Canberra in the new development of Googong where Mr Burgess says residents are ‘quite positive to new technology and innovation’. The area around Googong and Canberra provides a suitable test area due to the sparsely populated area. Mr Burgess said
Given the large estates and lots here, we’re able to fly and do deliveries without flying over populated areas.
Project Wing drones can deliver packages of up to 1.5kg, and the Googong area could benefit from the drone delivery system by having packages delivered as there is no shopping precinct currently built. The drones, which differ to the model used in QLD originally will be tested in the Fernleigh Park area over the next 2-3 weeks Mr Burgess told the Canberra Times. The new drone includes 12 hover motors that allow for greater safety in case of emergency.
Their previous experience trialling the drones in QLD means they have previous history with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), making the decision to remain testing in Australia easier. Mr Burgess said ‘We have the approvals and regulations [from CASA] we can comply with to date for these tests, and then we’re working towards ongoing approval and further expansion of the tests for a later date’.
CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said safety was a concern, saying ‘We’re very keen to foster this innovation and development, providing the safety precautions are met.’ Mr Burgess mirrors this sentiment saying ‘Safety comes first for us. There are risks in everyday situations. Even with a delivery driver taking an automobile, that’s not a zero-risk’.
The trial will be ongoing for the forseeable future, with X in talks with interested residents in the area. Moving forward will be dependent on feedback received in these early trials.
Canberra and the NSW region will be the focus for now, though there may be expansion into other parts of Australia in the future.
Would you welcome a drone delivery?