It appears that Amazon is not alone in the battle for drone delivery superiority. Google announced earlier today that ‘Project Wing’ is their secret drone project aimed at bringing drone delivery closer to a reality.
Just a few hours ago, Google uploaded a video to YouTube and explained that the team over at Google X has been working on a drone delivery project dubbed ‘Project Wing.’ With a 2 minute-long teaser showing some basic package delivery, it look’s like the tech giant is competing against Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery service. However, Google X’s Astro Teller did explain to BBC that another big goal of Project Wing is for disaster relief situations. Project Wing has also been in development for the past two years. See GIF below.
As for the drone itself, it appears that Google is approaching drone design in a different manner. When compared to Amazon’s octocopter drone, Google’s drone looks more like an RC plane capable of vertical take off and landing. Reports from BBC and The Atlantic indicate that the drone has an approximate wing span of 5 feet and a weight of nearly 19 pounds. Hefty! For electronics, Google’s drone is equipped with 4 motors/blades and an onboard computer. Unlike most drones, Google’s drone takes off the ground in a vertical position and then transitions into a horizontal flight. Sort of like this drone featured on IEEE’s Spectrum blog.
The delivery sequence on the Google drone is also quite different from Amazon’s. Using some fishing line and a small container called the ‘egg’, the drone can lower down the package without having to land on the ground. Some say this will protect against package theft. Pretty neat.
Now this all sounds like it would work just fine right? Well, there’s always those government technicalities and regulations. Google (same goes for Amazon) can’t exactly test these inside U.S. airspace as the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority doesn’t want drones whizzing around in the skies. In fact, BBC states that Google has been testing their Project Wing drones in Australia. It’s the fact the people could potentially get hurt from these drones that’s keeping tech giants like Google and Amazon from bringing drone delivery to the public. But look on the bright side, Amazon is pushing the FAA to allow for this type of commercial drone testing.
So does this mean that we’ll be able to order a pair of socks in a moments notice? Probably not. This whole “delivery by drone” still has a ways to go before it becomes available to average consumers.
What do you think about Google’s new project? Voice your opinions below!