Project Wing, a unit of Alphabet, the holding company formerly known as Google, announced today that it will begin delivering Chipotle via Drones to Virginia Tech college students in Blacksburg. You aren’t dreaming. This is real.
My first reaction was checking the calendar (not April 1st) and then lamenting that I grew up in the wrong era. But immediately after that I began wondering if even Google is going to be able to scale this to meet demand…
Thankfully for Google, and sadly for college students everywhere, the project is only a trial and will last just a month. That doesn’t mean this isn’t serious business however.
The project is FAA approved and more projects like it are planned.
The story, which was fed to Bloomberg (not via Drone) includes a snippet from Dave Vos, who heads Project Wing. “It’s the first time that we’re actually out there delivering stuff to people who want that stuff.” [LOL!]
The burrito-bearing aircraft will be flown by automation, but human pilots will be standing by to take control if necessary to comply with FAA rules, he said. Because regulations also don’t allow drones to fly over people, participants will be shielded, according to the company.
Vos said the experiment will not assess one of the major technology hurdles facing drone deliveries: creation of a low-level air-traffic system that can maintain order as the skies become more crowded with unmanned vehicles. NASA is working with Project Wing and other companies to develop the framework for such a system.
Data from the tests will be provided to the FAA to help the agency develop new rules allowing deliveries, Vos said.
Alphabet sees the technology as potentially creating sweeping changes to society and the economy, it said in a statement. It would not only reduce carbon emissions, but may change the way consumers shop, the company said.
“Sweeping changes” to having to get off your couch when you are ***** out of your mind. I look forward to the day when I tell my kids that “when I was in college I actually had to stumble to Chipotle at 2am”.