It's a concept that's been teased by megacorporations for years yet has only had meaningful progress in recent years: delivery by drone. For Google, Project Wing was conceived some 6 years ago as a way to shoot dog food from a local warehouse to your house. Today, the FAA announced that Wing, now the bona fide Alphabet company, has become the first drone delivery company to receive an Air Carrier Certification, meaning that it can now legally do business in the United States.
On its Medium blog, Wing said that it had to meet stringent safety requirements by submitting evidence from over 70,000 test flights and more than 3,000 deliveries in Australia — proof enough, it says, to assure that a delivery drone "carries a lower risk to pedestrians than the same trip made by car."
The company will use its participation in the FAA's Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program to conduct research in southwest Virginia with Blacksburg and Christiansburg being the key areas for testing, partnerships, and surveying. A trial food delivery program is expected to start in the area "later this year."
Earlier this month, Wing began commercial service in the Australian Capital Territory, delivering food and medicine to Canberra's northern suburbs. It hopes to launch operations in Helsinki, Finland, this quarter.