Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. delivers coffee using drones
August 28 - 2021
Coffee Geography Magazine
Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company delivered 10,000 cups of coffee, to customers in Logan, Australia, since last year. After a series of drone tests that began in 2014, the company was launched in 2019 in Australia. At the beginning, it was under Alphabet’s research division to allow users to order items such as food through a mobile app and is fast approaching 100,000 deliveries since its launch. Currently Wing has operations in Australia, the United States, and Finland still facing legal challenges in other countries to have flying permission for delivery of different items including coffee to customers. Wing designed the new drone to meet compliance standards that is required for the three countries where its operations are currently limited due to noise and privacy issues.
The drones take off vertically and then fly a forward-flight phase. They have navigational control system including black and white cameras that detect and analyze shapes without observing distinct features in order to keep the privacy issues while maintaining safe flight.
Wing is hopeful to expand the service in many part of the world for faster delivery in places like the North Pole, in many part of Canada during the winter season and remote areas where researchers and marine biologist usually stationed for months isolated from the rest of the world. The company has established a joint working relationship with more than 30 partners globally, including local coffee company, Walgreens.
Wing had been approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which permitted the company to start dropping packages in 2019. Amazon followed suit which launched an initiative called Prime Air in 2016, received FAA approval in 2020 to deliver packages beyond the visual line of sight of a drone operator.