At a conference earlier this week, the Google X team showed their progress at “Project Wing”, which promises to enable drone delivery anywhere in a 5 mile radius within 5 minutes.
At Zeitgeist, a conference organised by Google, “Project Wing” was the main star. According to Business Insider, the flight technology for drone delivery is only months away from being ready, making possible the prospect of an automated, instant delivery system.
The same source observed that Project Wing is a big quadcopter with fixed wings to improve its lift-to-drag radio and it, most likely, has a lithium ion battery for forward flight and a lithium polymer battery (10x the power) for hovering. It looks like the technology required for drone delivery is ready, but some tests (quite a few) are necessary due to quadcopters’ “row” with the weather. Rain, wind or snow are regular enemies for drones.
But drone delivery may also have other foe, human this time. FAA announced that even drone hobbyists must register their drones or they could face penalties. Still, with high pressures from Amazon and Google, it is highly probable that FAA will change current drone regulation. Both are investing heavily in drone development, seeing the drone delivery market as one with high wealth expectations.
Amazon and Google are lobbying hard for rules that would allow drones to fly below 400 feet in a kind of “boundary layer” between earth and sky, says Business Insider.
Drones could be 10 times cheaper and 10 times faster than any current alternative. It is clearly an option especially for less developed countries, with poor road infrastructure.
With this things in mind, I thnik we’ll just have to wait and see how the drone delivery idea evolves from now on.