Wing, the drone delivery spin-off from Google X, announced yesterday that it will pass 100,000 customer deliveries “in the next few days.” The milestone is another stepping stone for the nascent drone delivery sector, as it inches closer to more widespread adoption around the globe.
In its announcement, Wing said that 50,000 of those deliveries were to customers in Logan, Australia over the last eight months. Wing added that it made almost 4,500 deliveries in the first week of August, which translated into a Logan resident received a drone delivery approximately every 30 seconds during Wing’s service hours. Wing also shared that over the past year its drones have dropped off more than 10,000 cups of coffee, 1,700 snack packs, and 1,200 “hot chooks” (what Australians call roasted chicken).
Drones are actually a pretty good technology for food delivery, and have the potential to radically alter the delivery landscape. Drones are fast, arriving at their destination in minutes so hot food stays hot. They can reduce traffic on the road by replacing full-sized cars making deliveries. And in the age of COVID, they can provide contactless delivery.
We’ve already seen startups like Manna make thousands of deliveries in Galway, Ireland. Here in the U.S., Kroger started piloting its first drone delivery in Ohio, and Walmart has partnered with Flytrex for drone deliveries and invested in on-demand drone delivery startup DroneUp.
Despite all these advances, there are still plenty of regulatory hurdles for drone deliveries to overcome before they can truly scale on a global basis. Drones need flight paths cleared, specific safety measures installed, and citizens need reassurances that they aren’t being spied upon (the CEO of Manna told me that this is a top concern for people).
Those concerns, however are steadily being worked out and as Wing and other companies are showing, drone delivery going mainstream is not that far off.