Google Wing Drones To Begin European Testing in 2019

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The drones are coming. Google to test drone delivery service in Finland, after Aussie trials

Alphabet is to begin testing its drone delivery service in Finland next year, the first time it has testing its drones in Europe.

Google had announced that it was developing its own fleet of airborne drones in 2014, in a scheme called ‘Project Wing’.

The idea was to develop a drone capable of home deliveries, similar to the way in which Amazon is looking to utilise drone technology.

A Wing drone prototype is shown carrying a payload. Credit: Alphabet

Project Wing

Over the following years Project Wing was developed by engineers at Google X, the secret “moonshot” labs at the research giant.

But Google in July this year announced plans to spin off two research projects, Wing and Loon, into separate companies.

This decision was because Alphabet felt the two projects were ready to become early-stage companies.

Project Wing has already undergone extensive tests in the Australian outback (at least 55,000 flights), and a YouTube video shows Australian farmers ordering dog food, via drone delivery.

The Google drone boasts a single wing design that allows it to fly at faster aeroplane speeds compared to the more familiar helicopter-like drones.

It also seems to feature a retractable winch-like device that lowers the delivered goods to the ground.

Finland trial

And now according to Techcrunch, the Wing trials will begin in Finland in spring 2019.

Essentially, it will offer 10-minute deliveries of items of 1.5kg or less in weight over distances of up to 10km in the nation’s capital, Helsinki.

Deliveries will apparently be free as part of the trial, although if a commercial service launches then the intention is to charge customers.

A webpage has been setup, asking Finns for suggestions on what it can deliver in Finland, such as food, pain killers, and emergency essentials like an ice scraper.

“We’re excited to launch our drone delivery service in Finland in spring of 2019, which will be our first operations in Europe,” said Google

“Finns are internationally renowned for being early-adopters of new technologies, and we’re looking forward to working with the community and local businesses to find the best way to implement our services in the Helsinki area,” it said.

“Based on what we know about the winter weather in Finland, we’re pretty confident that if our drones can deliver here, they can deliver anywhere!” it said.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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