Back in July, Wing graduated from X to become its own independent company within Alphabet. After testing in Australia, the drone delivery division is expanding to Europe with a trial in Finland this spring.
For commerce, drone delivery has the potential of shipping items to customers within minutes of the order. It’s also more environmentally friendly, with Alphabet touting that the total carbon footprint of its system is 22 times lower than traditional ground delivery.
Frequently touted use cases include providing medication and other goods to rural areas, like Wing has been testing for the past 18 months in south-eastern Australia.
In spring 2019, the Alphabet division will launch a drone delivery service in Finland, specifically Helsinki. This European launch will expose Wing’s twelve-propeller drones to the country’s winter weather.
Finns are internationally renowned for being early-adopters of new technologies, and we’re looking forward to working with the community and local businesses to find the best way to implement our services in the Helsinki area. Based on what we know about the winter weather in Finland, we’re pretty confident that if our drones can deliver here, they can deliver anywhere!
Wing has a form for Helsinki residents to detail how “drone delivery could be helpful” in day-to-day life. It asks what they would like “delivered by Wing to your door in less than 10 minutes,” with options including food, over-the-counter medication, and other “emergency” items that would be useful in a pinch.
- Over-the-counter medicine (such as painkillers)
- Breakfast – I’m in a rush to get to work
- Groceries (toothpaste, washing powder etc.)
- Lunch – I’m too busy at work to grab a bite to eat
- Dinner – there’s nothing in my fridge
- “Emergency” essentials (such as diapers, an ice scraper for frozen car windows)
The company also makes the point that drones allow “local businesses to quickly deliver their products to a large number of customers.” This is an interesting use case of allowing smaller shops to compete with the likes of Amazon and others with large shipping infrastructure.
More about Wing:
- Alphabet’s Project Wing hires longtime Amazon exec to head drone delivery operations
- Alphabet’s Project Wing plans to deliver burritos by drone in South Eastern Australia
- Project Wing returns to demonstrate its air traffic management system for drones