FAA Approves Google's "Wing" Spinoff as an Airline for Commercial Drone Delivery
Please consider Google Spinoff’s Drone Delivery Business First to Get FAA Approval.
An offshoot of Alphabet Inc.’s Google has become the first drone operator to receive government approval as an airline, an important step that gives it the legal authority to begin dropping products to actual customers.
The subsidiary, Wing Aviation LLC, now has the same certifications that smaller airlines receive from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation. It plans to begin routine deliveries of small consumer items in two rural communities in Virginia within months, the company said.
It [the FAA] required Wing to create extensive manuals, training routines and a safety hierarchy -- just as any air carrier must do.
In order for Wing to operate over longer ranges and actually charge for the service, it needed to become a full-fledged air carrier. The FAA confirmed the air-carrier certification was signed, but didn’t offer additional comment.
Unlike Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Air, another would-be drone delivery company, Wing will sell items from local merchants. Now that it has gotten FAA approvals, it will begin finding business partners in the two towns, Burgess said.
The Federal Aviation Administration has certified Alphabet's Wing Aviation to operate as an airline, in a first for U.S. drone delivery companies. Wing, which began as a Google X project, has been testing its autonomous drones in southwest Virginia and elsewhere.
"Air Carrier Certification means that we can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States," Wing said in a statement posted to the Medium website.
"This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our Number One priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential," Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said in a statement from the agency.
Wing's electric drones are powered by 14 propellers, nearly all of which are top-mounted to help carry loads of up to 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). They're meant to deliver a wide range of everyday items, from food and drinks to medicine and emergency supplies.
By developing delivery drones — and a retail system that would connect customers with local merchants — Google's parent company is directly competing with Amazon, which has been readying its own unmanned delivery system, called Prime Air.
Pizza by Air Coming Soon
From ordering your food, coffee, medicines or convenience items from the Wing app on your smartphone, Wing's drone will deliver these items to your yard just a handful of minutes later.
I expect Wing will team up with fast food restaurants very quickly. Expect Pizza Hut, Domino, etc., deliveries in much of the nation within a couple years.
Amazon is sure to follow soon. United Parcel Service and DHL Express also have been developing their own drone systems.
These processes will not work in heavily populated urban high-rise centers, but much of the county will be getting pizza and other fast-food deliveries by drone within a couple of years.
Drone delivery will be faster, cheaper, and use less carbon than delivery by auto. Food delivery drivers will vanish within a few years except in the inner city.
Some thought drone delivery would be a decade away if ever. It's 2019.
The free market, on its own accord will solve any real or imaginary problem with climate change.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock