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Alphabet’s Wing gets FAA permission to start delivering by drone

Wing Aviation, the drone-based delivery startup conceived
out of Google’s X labs, has received the first FAA certification in the country for commercial carriage of goods. It might not be long before you’re getting your burritos sent par avion.

The company has been performing tests for years, making thousands of flights and supervised deliveries to show that its drones are safe and effective. Many of those flights were in Australia, where in suburban Canberra the company recently began its first commercial operations. Finland and other countries are also in the works.

Wing’s first operations, starting later this year, will be in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Va.; obviously an operation like this requires close coordination with municipal authorities as well as federal ones. You can’t just get a permission slip from the FAA and begin flying over everyone’s houses.

“Wing plans to approach out to the local community before it begins food delivery, to collect feedback to inform its future operations,” the FAA writes in a press release. Here’s hoping that means you can select whether or not these loud small aircraft will be able to pass through your airspace.

Although the obvious application is getting a meal delivered quickly even when traffic is evil, there are plenty of other applications. One imagines quick delivery of medications ahead of EMTs, or blood being transferred quickly between medical centers.

I’ve asked Wing for more details on its plans to spin this out elsewhere in the U.S. and will update this tale if I hear back.


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