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Alphabet's Wing to deliver goods by drone

Relaxnews (AFP) logoRelaxnews (AFP) 6/12/2018
Wing isscheduled to start delivering goods by drone in Finland next year. © Provided by AFPRelaxNews Wing isscheduled to start delivering goods by drone in Finland next year.

Don't have time to leave work to grab a lunch? Don't worry, if you're in Finland, Alphabet's Wing can deliver you a hot meal via drone.

Last July, Google's parent company Alphabet spun off Wing -- a project that first made headlines by delivering Chipotle burritos to college students by drone -- to become its own separate company, and, starting in spring of next year, its drone delivery services will be expanding to Helsinki, Finland.

Over the past year and a half, Wing has been testing its services in south-eastern Australia; the company has tracked thousands of deliveries transporting various foods, drinks, medicine, and other household items, as well as the customers' experiences. In fact, on the Wing site, the company is requesting users' opinions as to what would be the most useful items to transport by drone: OTC medicine, meals, groceries, "emergency" essentials including diapers and ice scrapers, or other, which you can fill in with anything.

Helsinki was selected for the official launch of the drone service, because the community is popularly known to be welcoming towards new technologies. Plus, the winter weather in Finland can be pretty intense, so if the drones can manage to deliver despite the harsh outdoor conditions, they can probably deliver anywhere.

As the world is becoming more environmentally-conscious and more supportive of small businesses, Wing-branded drones could potentially make a more sustainable alternative to traditional delivery services while allowing local businesses to transport a large number of products to customers in just minutes.

Orders can be made through the Wing delivery app, which will prompt a drone to fly to a business or home to pick up the corresponding package. Once the product is acquired, the drone will then gently drop it off in a precise location at a designated destination. The Unmanned Traffic Management platform ensures that while on these routes, drones don't hit one another or any other obstacles like trees or buildings.

Wing's success in Helsinki over the upcoming months will determine how quickly and how far the service expands.

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