Secret Google Drone Delivery Service
Google is working on a delivery system called Project Wing that will use what it’s calling “self-flying” drones to bring goods to people.
The search giant has been working on the service for two years, and it’s the latest project announced by Google X, the division of the company that works on Google’s most ambitious projects.
Google has been testing the vehicles in Queensland, Australia, and has already made deliveries to locals — including shipments of candy bars, dog treats, cattle vaccines, water, and radios. Similar to the company’s self-driving car project, the drones will be able to fly a preprogrammed route at the push of a button. The company said that it will be a few more years before the system is ready for commercial use.
“Even just a few of these, being able to shuttle nearly continuously, could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation,” Astro Teller, head of Google X, told the BBC.
The vehicles have a wingspan of about 5 feet, and have four electrically driven propellers, according to the BBC. The aircraft itself weighs almost 19 pounds, but with a package in hand, weighs 22 pounds.
Google’s experimental projects division, Google X, has become a hotbed of curiosities and “moon shots,” to use CEO Larry Page’s term, of ambitious but secretive skunkworks projects that could change the world — or fail.
The first Google X project burst into the news before Google X itself had been publicly named. The Self-Driving Car project was born out of the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, and now is expected to be road-ready sometime between 2017 and 2020.
Since then, other projects have been revealed, including Google Glass, Project Loon’s Internet-broadcasting hot air balloons, a contact lens that can monitor blood glucose levels, a medical records analysis project, a wind-power project, and a computer network that replicates the architecture of the human brain.
The company also toyed with a number of projects that it concluded were duds, including a space elevator, jetpack, teleportation, and hoverboard — think “Back to the Future II.”
Google announced that it had purchased Gecko Design to help bolster the look and feel of Google X projects.