Google’s Wing gets the green light from the FAA to begin drone deliveries in the US
- Google-owned Wing will start to fly commercial drones with FAA approval
- The company will partner with local businesses to deliver in two Virginia towns
- This is the first commercial approval by the FAA , classifying Wing as an airline
- Stringent safety regulations and guidelines have slowed other drone hopefuls
A Google offshoot will pave the way for commercial drone deliveries in the U.S. after getting the green light from the FAA.
The precedent, which was foreshadowed by the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Executive Director, Jay Merkle, last month, is a major step for commercial drones in the U.S. where regulators have been slow to allow widespread usage.
Approval of the drones, which will be operated by a company called Wing, effectively classifies the company as a small aircraft operator — a determination that carries a stringent set of mandatory guidelines.
Wing has scored another major victory with its recent approval from the FAA in the U.S.
HOW DOES GOOGLE’S WING DRONE WORK?
Wing, the first commercial drone company approved by the FAA in the U.S. will start delivering in Virginia.
The drones is powered entirely by electric and can fly up to 120 km/h (almost 75 mph).
It emits no greenhouse gas and travels without any human guidance using the company’s AI and machine learning systems.
It can fly vertically and sideways and delivers products to consumers’ lawns by dropping them down safely with a tether.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Wing will begin carrying out deliveries in two towns in the state of Virginia — Blacksburg and Christiansburg — as it hammers out details of the company’s operations.
It will start by partnering with local businesses to deliver products to those areas.
Though Wing has been approved by the FAA, the company says it will work with local governments to determine where and how its drones are deployed.
Among the major issues for commercial drone usage have those relating to privacy and noise.
‘There’s going to be a lot of learning for us as well, since this is a first of its kind and nobody really knows specifically the best applications,’ Wing CEO James Ryan Burgess told the Roanoke Times.
‘We think it’s actually in partnership with the community that we’ll find those answers together.’
The helicopter-like vehicles are completely autonomous and capable of flying up to 120 km/h (75 mph) using an all-electric power source with zero emissions.
Customers will us a mobile app to cue up deliveries of products which are flown to their house and safely lowered to their lawn using the drone’s tether.
It’s unclear what Wing will deliver to its first U.S. location but the company says it will focus on local products according to a Bloomberg report
For Wing, approval of its U.S. operations marks one of several major steps throughout the past year, with the latest being a green light from Australia regulators who allowed public delivers from the company this month.
Its strides have outpaced that of Google’s main competitor in the commercial drone space, Amazon, whose service, Prime Air, plans to deliver the company’s products straight to consumers doorsteps.
As noted in a Bloomberg report, many other companies have received waivers from the FAA to begin testing drones on a limited scale, but none have gone through the rigorous FAA process of being approved as an aircraft operator.
For other hopefuls in the space, Wing will likely represent a template of what works and what doesn’t as the technology expands to more densely populated areas.