Wing, a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has announced plans to develop drone delivery-network technology that can handle millions of orders within the next 12 months. The technology is being tested in Logan, Australia, where Wing delivers up to 1,000 packages a day and the Dublin suburb of Lusk. Wing believes that operating drones as a network will improve efficiency, making it look “more like an efficient data network than a traditional transportation system”, according to Chief Executive Adam Woodworth.
“We do a lot of grocery delivery, we do a lot of prepared food delivery, we do a lot of coffee delivery”, said Woodworth, without disclosing the cost of drone deliveries. Experts believe that for drone companies to be financially viable, they will have to make a large number of deliveries. Steve Wright, a drone expert from the University of West of England, said Wing and Amazon shared one clear heritage – big data. “The next question is looming large – how to manage and direct this vast number of robots”, he said.
The Wing Delivery Network comprises three basic hardware elements: delivery drones, pads where drones take off, land and recharge their batteries and autoloaders that allow companies to leave packages for collection. Using these elements, drones can pick up, drop off, travel and charge in whatever pattern makes the most sense for the entire system.