Wing drone delivery service takes flight

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A Wing remotely piloted aircraft with a delivery. (Wing)

Australia’ s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has approved the delivery of food and non-prescription medicines to homes in northern Canberra using remotely piloted aircraft, more commonly known as drones.

The green light for Wing Aviation, part of US-based company X that was founded by Alphabet (which owns Google), comes after an 18-month trial that involved 3, 000 deliveries to homes in Bonython and Fernleigh Park in the Australia Capital Territory and Royalla just across the border in {New South Wales|Nsw}.

CASA said in a statement on its website it was satisfied Wing Aviation’ s operation met an “ acceptable {level of|degree of|amount of} safety”.

“ Wing were required to submit a safety case to CASA as part of their application process which included information about the reliability {of the|from the|in the} drones, ” CASA said.

“ Following an assessment of the safety case, we have permitted Wing to operate over North Canberra and in closer proximity {to a|to some|into a} person, than our regulations would normally permit.

“ They have satisfied us that their operation meets an acceptable level of safety. ”

A Project Wing delivery drone test in Queanbeyan in 2017. (X)

A Project Wing delivery drone test in Queanbeyan in 2017. (X)

CASA said Wing would be permitted {to make|to create|for making} deliveries between 0700 and 2000 between Monday and Saturday, as well as between 0800 and 2000 on Sundays and public holidays.

Further, the service will initially be {restricted to|limited to} 100 eligible homes in Gungahlin, which is located north of the Canberra central business district.

The aviation safety regulator said Wing was expected to {over time|with time|as time passes} introduce more homes for service.

Wing said in a statement on its website there were seven companies offering deliveries at launch – Kickstart Expresso, Capital Chemist, Pure Gelato, Jasper + Myrtle, Bakers Delight, Guzman Y Gomez, and Drummond Golf.

“ Whether you’ re a parent with a sick child at home and have {run out|go out|be depleted} of baby paracetamol, {a busy|a fastpaced|a hectic} professional who forgot {to pick up|to get|to grab} fresh bread during your regular weekly shop, or you {simply just|just} want to order your morning flat white without the hassle of having to drive to the cafe, Wing has teamed up with local Canberra businesses {to give|to provide|to offer} customers the opportunity to have {a range of|a selection of|an array of} goods delivered in {a handful of|a number of|a couple of} minutes, ” Wing said.

The company {was also|seemed to be} aiming to raise awareness of the drone delivery service through its engagement with the {local community|group|neighborhood} and stakeholders. This included hosting community information stalls and delivery demonstrations {in the|within the|inside the} weeks ahead.

“ Wing strongly believes that by working together with local policymakers, regulators, and communities, we can improve access to services, open up new economic opportunities, and better connect our cities, ” the company said.

“ We look {forward to|toward} continuing this dialogue {with the|using the|with all the} Canberra community as we expand Wing’ s service. ”

While the {system is|strategy is|product is} automated, CASA said {a licensed|an authorized} drone pilot would {always be|continually be|often be} at the helm.

“ While an accident is unlikely to occur, pilots {will know|know|will be aware of} instantly if any of their drones operate outside of {a standard|a typical|a regular} mission. If this happens, the operator will decide if the safest course of action is to the land the aircraft, rather than continue the flight, ” CASA said.

“ In the unlikely event the drone encounters a problem, {it is|it really is|it truly is} designed to automatically land very slowly. The aircraft {are equipped with|include} flashing strobe lights. ”

While there {have been|happen to be|are actually} some community concerns about noise and privacy, CASA said these two issues were “ not in our remit”.

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VIDEO: A look at Project Wing {from the|from your|through the} The Moonshot Factory’ s YouTube channel .