VIRAL VIDEO: Google tests drone deliveries

Tested on Australians

Project Wing is a Google X project that is developing a delivery system that uses self-flying vehicles, the company says.

"As part of our research, we built a vehicle and traveled to Queensland, Australia for some test flights.

"There, we successfully delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water to a couple of Australian farmers. We’re only just beginning to develop the technology to make a safe delivery system possible, but we think that there’s tremendous potential to transport goods more quickly, safely and efficiently."

Google says the technology is years away from commercial release, but it's taking sign-ups from interested parties here.

The vehicle featured in the video above has four electrically-driven propellers with a wingspan of about 1.5m.

It weighs just under 9kg and can take off and land without a runway.

According to a BBC report the entire weight of the craft and the item it is delivering is 10kg

Its computer is near the tail section, while the power is near the front of the plane.

Onboard is GPS, cameras, radios, and an inertial measurement sensor that's made up of accelerometers and gyroscopes to help the craft determine how it's positioned.

According to the Wall Street Journal, battery life is an issue. Google has yet to develop lightweight battery packs that can go for tens of kilometres, let alone fly from a city to the kiind of outback setting used in the above clip.

And then there are regulatory hurdles. In the US, the Federal Aviation Authority has allowed limited use of drones for surveillance, law enforcement and atmospheric research and other applications. Convincing the FAA and other regulators that people need drones to get pizzas delivered faster could be a harder sell.

Amazon has also talked up a drone trial.

Express delivery is seen as the next big thing in e-tail.

Google has partnered with local retailers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York for its Shopping Express service, which allows consumers to order goods online and have them delivered to their doorstep on the same day. Amazon has a similar trial.

For now however, both companies are relying on ye olde fashioned courier vans for rapid turnaround deliveres.


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