Wing drones take off in Dallas

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The Alphabet subsidiary will soon be partnering with Walgreens, the second largest pharmacy chain in the US, to deliver in Dallas-Fort Worth, the largest city in its history. The unmanned devices will carry painkillers and bandages in boxes attached to them. For the first time, Google’s parent company Alphabet is using its drones to deliver packages in densely populated areas.

In this case, Wing is starting small: initially, it will deliver orders to just one pharmacy in the city of Frisco and an even smaller one in Little Elm. To do this, they are using their new operating model. Small boxes are assembled in containers in front of the store, which can be hung on a cable lowered by drones. The pouches containing the orders are attached to the delivery vehicle by Walgreens employees

Unmanned flight was initially envisioned to revolutionise urban delivery, with companies such as Amazon and Uber predicting that they saw a major business opportunity in the near future. However, the technology is currently still only focused on small-scale tasks, such as transporting vaccines and blood products to hard-to-reach locations. In the US, the service is mostly limited to small cities, where the natural environment is less fully developed – a factor that plays a role in landing.

Wing currently operates in three countries – Australia, the United States and Finland – and this summer completed its 100,000th delivery. Their biggest success is said to be the completion of over 50,000 orders in Logan, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia.

The Texas expansion is expected to accelerate Alphabet’s drone growth. In addition to the pharmacy chain, the company is also planning to develop a center in the Frisco Station area. The mixed-use development and tourist destination north of Dallas will initially be used to test new uses and community demonstrations in addition to deliveries.

The California-based company’s planes can operate as fixed-wing aircraft and hovercopters and, unlike competitors, do not need to land to deliver packages. All they need to do is descend to a height of seven metres above the target area and lower the cargo on a cable, which automatically releases and lands.

Source: The Verge

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