Wednesday, 10 April 2019 09:05

Google-associated firm Project Wing starts drone delivery in Canberra

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A Canberra family opens a package delivered by drone. A Canberra family opens a package delivered by drone. Courtesy Project Wing

Project Wing, an initiative of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has been given the go-ahead to start delivery by drones in north Canberra, the company says, with the service to be initially available to 100 eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin as part of an Early Flyer Program.

A statement from Project Wing said the service allowed users to order fresh good, hot coffee or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals on its mobile app and have them delivered.

It said customers in Harrison and Gungahlin were expected to be covered in the coming months.

Goods could be initially be ordered from Kickstart Expresso​, Capital Chemist,​ Pure Gelato​, Jasper + Myrtle​, ​Bakers Delight,​ Guzman Y Gomez​ and​ Drummond Golf.

The company said it had been testing drone delivery since 2014 and had delivered food, small household items and pharmaceuticals on more than 3000 occasions to homes in the Fernleigh Park, Royalla and Bonython communities.

project wing delivery

A Project Wing drone set to make a delivery. Courtesy Project Wing

Citing data from am AlphaBeta study, Project Wing said estimates showed that, at scale, drone delivery could add $30 million to $40 million in annual revenue for ACT businesses.

It said delivery costs could be cut by $12 million a year by 2030.

"Small drone delivery produces 99% less emissions than deliveries made by car and if even a small proportion of deliveries and pick-ups by car and truck are shifted to drones, congestion in the ACT could be reduced by as many 35 million vehicle kilometres per year by 2030, which would result in the reduction of 8000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions," the company said, quoting again from the AlphaBeta study.

"Drone delivery has the potential to offer greater autonomy to the 13,000 people with a disability and 6700 elderly people living in the ACT who may need assistance with mobility. The potential reduction in vehicle kilometres could avoid up to 70 road accidents annually in the ACT."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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