Google drone deliveries cleared for take-off in Australia

Wing CEO James Burgess with a drone and its quieter propeller system

It's now rolling out the service to "a limited set of eligible homes".

Wing has been trialling deliveries of food, coffee and medicine to outer Canberra suburbs for a year while awaiting approval for its fleet of drones to be given the go-ahead by Australia's aviation authority.

The division has been testing drones here in Australia since 2014 and originally planned to launch a commercial service in 2017, but missed the target.

Now they have been officially approved, Wing's drones can fly over houses but must avoid major roads such as the Federal Highway, Barton Highway, and Horse Park Drive.

The idea was to develop a drone capable of home deliveries, similar to the way in which Amazon is looking to utilise drone technology.

The agency decided previous year that large-scale commercial package delivery operations by drones would need to meet the same safety and economic certification standards as other licensed USA airlines.

Wing said the feedback obtained during its trials had been "valuable" and it hoped to "continue the dialogue".

The drones are automated, and a licensed pilot is at the helm all the time, but by using machine learning they can choose a drop zone on their own, away from obstacles like trees, buildings, and power lines. The aviation authority says Wing must use this quieter drone for its commercial service.

While a full-scale drone delivery service is a long way off, receiving official CASA approval to operate in these slightly more built-up areas is an important next step in getting me my aerial caffeine fix. Wing's promotional videos are dubbed with plenty of voice-over and music, but you can't actually hear the noise made by the drones as they travel over neighbourhoods.

Currently, the internet giant is only operating its drone delivery service in parts of the US with trials set to start in the United Kingdom.



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