Drone-delivery specialist Wing has been running trial services in parts of the U.S., Australia, and Finland for several years now, lowering groceries and other provisions from its specially designed drone into the yards of customers who minutes earlier placed an order on their smartphone.
This week, Alphabet-owned Wing said it’s on track to reach 100,000 drone deliveries, with more than half of those made in Logan City in Queensland, Australia, since September 2019.
In a message posted online this week, Wing said Logan residents have been “ordering thousands of drone deliveries on-demand each week, adding that it has “a strong claim to be the drone=delivery capital of the world.”
Clearly getting comfortable with the idea of drone delivery, Logan residents ordered almost 4,500 deliveries in the first week of August alone, which, according to Wing, means a resident of the city “on average received a drone delivery nearly once every 30 seconds during our service hours.”
Customers accepted onto Wing’s app can order from a number of local businesses via a few taps on their smartphone. When an order arrives, Wing’s software quickly pinpoints the best drone depot and optimal flight route to handle the delivery. The ordered package is then attached to the drone’s tether, which automatically winds down to drop the item off in the customer’s yard.
“This technology has enabled our customers in Logan to start their days with more than 10,000 cups of fresh barista-made coffee in the last year, delivered right to their homes,” Wing said. “As their kids transitioned to remote learning, parents have ordered more than 1,700 snack packs to keep break times interesting. And we’ve made more than 1,200 hot chooks (that’s Australian for roasted chicken) fly just in time for dinner.”
While Wing has certainly made impressive progress with its drone-delivery service, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. For example, some residents in Wing’s service zones have complained about drone noise as the flying machines buzzed over their neighborhoods, prompting the company to refine the aircraft’s design to make it quieter. Also, for drone-delivery services to go mainstream, local regulators will have to be satisfied that the drones are safe to fly over populated areas.
Still, Wing is determined to seek out new locations to test its drone delivery service and is promising to make an announcement on that front in the coming months.