Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has finally granted regulatory approval of Wing, an autonomous delivery drone service under Google-linked company Alphabet, to operate in Canberra.
Wing Delivery Drones Get Green Light from CASA
After more than four years of pilot testing, the drones are finally ready to take off. On April 9, 2019, the company becomes one of the drone companies to launch a commercial drone delivery services.
Approximately 100 households in the districts of Franklin, Palmerston, and Crace will have access to Wing delivery drones. In the coming months, the company is also planning to expand the service to Harrison and Gungahlin, but they would have to fly noiseless drones to obtain CASA’s approval to operate in those areas.
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Initially, the Alphabet’s Wing delivery drones will operate between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays and between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Sundays. Also, they will only be permitted to deliver goods to houses that signed up to the service and had been briefed about regulatory instructions. Other than that, the delivery drones will be prohibited to fly too near to people or over main highways to ensure safety.
The head of Australian operations, Terrance Bouldin-Johnson, also revealed that various local business, such as Kickstart Espresso, Pure Gelato, Jasper + Myrtle, Bakers Delight, Capital Chemist, Guzman y Gomez, and Drummond Golf, had already enlisted their products as part of the delivery service. He also expects that more local Canberra businesses will team up with them so they could “give customers the opportunity to have a range of goods delivered in a handful of minutes.”
Wing’s state-of-the-art tech is expected to help curtail traffic jams in cities and ease the carbon dioxide emissions attributable to the movements of supplies. This also results in a 5.7% reduction in energy consumption compared to the usual delivery modes (e.g., trucks and motorcycles), as reported by RAND Corporation.
Although many residents are skeptical about the launch, CASA assured them that they will still closely monitor the company’s operation if it will continue to “meet an acceptable level of safety” within the next few years.
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