Google has unveiled plans to get into the delivery-by-drone business by 2017. These plans were detailed during an air traffic control conference in Washington earlier today by project leader, David Vos.
The project, known as Project Wing and first rumored to be underway in 2014, aims to bring fully autonomous air delivery drones to the public. Testing has already taken place in Australia, as shown in the video below.
Google entering the drone delivery game comes as no surprise, especially following the buzz over Amazon's latest moves into that territory. Google's current ground-based delivery service, Google Express, would be able to extend its reach and reduce transit times by implementing airborne unmanned couriers.
Project Wing also separates itself from other drone-delivery concepts in its design. The units shown use an upright wing design that stands out next to more commonplace "helicopter" design drones. Another difference of note is that the Project Wing drones drop payload via a cord onto the ground, like a commando rappelling from a chopper.
This feature appears to be designed from a safety standpoint, as having the drone land to deliver goods could risk people being too close to the moving propellers that keep the drone aloft. Google has also expressed interest in utilizing their drones for emergency services, providing supplies for relief efforts or medical emergencies.
Currently, the biggest concern for companies such as Google, Amazon and even Wal-Mart for making drone-based dreams a reality lie with air traffic control regulations and standards, which are currently ongoing testing. At this time, Google remains unfazed and still plans to be in the skies by 2017.
Top image credit: Google