Wing Drone Deliveries Support Social Distancing

 - April 13, 2020, 3:41 AM
Wing's 10-pound drone is delivering packages weighing up to 3 pounds over round trips of up to 12 miles. [Photo: Wing]

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

Drone delivery pioneer Wing has stepped up services to help customers confined to their houses receive goods during the Covid-19 pandemic. The company said that in the past two weeks it has made more than 1,000 deliveries in four communities where it is conducting trial operations in the U.S., Australia, and Finland.

Last April, Wing became the first drone delivery service in the U.S. to be certified as an air carrier by the FAA. Since then, its 10-pound aircraft has made more than 100,000 flights, delivering packages weighing up to three pounds on round trips of up to 12 miles at speeds of up to 70 mph. The company has developed its own unmanned traffic management system based on mapping software.

In the town of Christianburg, Virginia, the service has partnered with local independent cafes and coffee shops, as well as with the Walgreens drug store, to make deliveries in a way that avoids person-to-person contact where social distancing rules are being enforced. Its fastest delivery so far was achieved in two minutes and 47 seconds after the order was placed.

Wing, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, is currently providing the service free of charge to gather feedback from business users and their customers. AIN interviewed company executive Alexa Dennett in this video.