Google/Alphabet unit Wing has become the first drone delivery company to receive FAA air carrier certification, it announced today. “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,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
Wing said it plans to develop its delivery service through the Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP) over the next several months in the test markets of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Virginia. “We’ll be reaching out to businesses and community members to demonstrate our technology, answer questions, and solicit feedback with the goal of launching a delivery trial later this year,” it said this morning.
The company submitted data to the FAA that included the results of more than 70,000 test flights and 3,000 residential deliveries to customers in Australia. Results from those tests showed that “Wing carries a lower risk to pedestrians than the same trip made by car,” the company said, adding it has plans to expand the delivery service to other markets nationwide. Wing launched commercial drone-to-home delivery service in select neighborhoods in Canberra, Australia, earlier this month and announced its intention to begin a similar service in Finland in December.