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Wing’s delivery drones take flight for the first time in Virginia

The Verge logo The Verge 10/18/2019 Andrew J. Hawkins
a airplane that is flying in the sky

Wing’s drone delivery service is now live in Virginia. The Alphabet subsidiary is now delivering snacks and health care products to residents of Christiansburg, Virginia, after receiving approval from the government and teaming up with major players like FedEx and Walgreens. Wing says it’s the first commercial drone delivery service in the US.

Earlier this year, Wing became one of the first drone operators to be certified as a commercial air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration, allowing it to deliver goods to people who may live miles away and not in the drone operator’s line of sight.

A video posted by Wing shows an elderly couple and a family with young children using their smartphones to select items for delivery. The video then cuts to a worker placing the items in a cardboard box that looks like an oversized Happy Meal. The box is then attached to a yellow clip dangling in thin air; the camera pulls back and we see the box being retracted upward toward a hovering drone.

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The drone flies across town, and eventually deposits the boxes in the yards of the waiting customers. The elderly couple get their yarn and bandages, while the family gets its snacks. A young boy points to the sky in what is surely an unprompted goodbye to the departing drone.

The company says it hopes to replace deliveries that are typically made by car or truck in order to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. It also bills itself as a delivery service for people with limited mobility options. Wing promises deliveries within “minutes” of the orders being placed to customers who live in Christiansburg’s “designated delivery zones.” And there are no extra fees for the deliveries, a spokesperson said. (If you live in Christiansburg and are interested in opting in, click here to sign up for the waitlist.)

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