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Google testing drones with Queensland farmers Featured

Tech giant Google isn't letting Amazon have all the fun with drones, announcing its research laboratory has been testing drones in Queensland designed to bypass traffic and other earthly trappings and speed up parcel deliveries.

Project Wing, as Google has dubbed it, has been testing an aerial parcel delivery service using pilotless aircraft at properties in Killarney, south-west of Brisbane. Google released a video this morning of a Killarney farmer receiving a packet of dog treats carried by one of the self-flying vehicles.

The drones were dispatched from Brisbane and hovered 80 metres above the ground when they arrived at the properties, and parcels were then gently lowered on the end of a string down to the ground and released.

The project is from Google's experimental arm Google X - also responsible for Google Glass, WiFi balloons and Project Tango, the mobile phone that maps its surroundings in 3D.

Online shopping company Amazon is also experimenting with drones to carry products to customers of its online store, and says its goal is to get packages into customers' hands within 30 minutes. Meanwhile Google's aim, the BBC is reporting, is to develop a way of delivering aid to isolated areas during times of disaster relief.

Google has called the programme Project Wing, but warned it was unlikely to be put into action for deliveries in the near future. It's been in development for around two years.

Nicholas Roy, Project Wing founder, said: "It's years from a product, but it is the first prototype that we want to stand behind."

"Throughout history there have been a series of innovations that have each taken a huge chunk out of the friction of moving things around," says Captain of Moonshots at Google X, Astro Teller (yep, his real name).

"Project Wing aspires to take another big chunk of the remaining friction out of moving things around in the world."

For more information on Project Wing check out the introductory video below.

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David Swan

David Swan is a tech journalist from Melbourne and is iTWire's Associate Editor. Having started off as a games reviewer at the age of 14, he now has a degree in Journalism from RMIT (with Honours) and owns basically every gadget under the sun.

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