Drone delivery company Wing cleared for take off in Queensland
Drone delivery service Wing has promised to be a good neighbour when it moves in to the Logan suburbs later this month – it’ll even bring you a cup of sugar if you ask.
Indeed, that is it’s business model, with the company – owned by a subsidiary of internet giant Google – aiming to deliver small items on demand to residents without them having to leave their homes.
The company has already announced it will begin its Queensland rollout in the Logan suburbs of Crestmead and Marsden, however they’ve now confirmed it will happen by the end of the month.
They’ve also announced the first three local businesses to take part in the first stage of their rollout – Extraction Artisan Coffee, Friendly Grocer Crestmead and Browns Plains Hardware.
Wing chief executive James Ryan Burgess said those three businesses represented the types of things Wing wants to provide customers.
“Because we can deliver things so quickly, across the city in 5 minutes, you can be in the moment, doing a DIY project and need a paintbrush or some nails and instead of stopping and going to the store you can just order what you need,” Mr Burgess said.
“It’s not so much about ‘just get it to me faster’ it’s getting things to people when they need them.”
The company has already started deliveries in some suburbs of Canberra, starting in more rural suburbs and earlier this year expanding to more parts of the city itself.
The initial rollout was met with some complaints by residents, especially of the noise made by the drones, which Ms Burgess said they took on board.
“Directly from that feedback we engineered new propellers and motors for our system to be quieter.
“It actually changed the tone, drones are normally quite high-pitched, and we changed the tone to lower it to match noise people would be more familiar with.”
Those new quieter drones will take to Logan skies with the approval of the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority, which has now signed off on the operation.
The drones will not fly at night and will only fly in the airspace over the trial area, in the same arrangement that was put in place for the Canberra trial.
Wing’s head of Australian operations Terrance Bouldin-Johnson said the most important thing was to ensure locals in the trial area saw Wing as a good neighbour, not a nuisance.
“Once we made that change to the quieter drone we saw the feedback shift from complaints to people wanting to use the service,” Mr Bouldin-Johnson said
Logan City Council director of strategy and sustainability David Hansen said they were very supportive of Wing joining the Logan community.
“We are confident this new drone delivery service will be embraced by the community and we look forward to seeing the opportunities for local businesses selected to trial the technology,” Mr Hansen said.
“Council will continue to work closely with Wing on community awareness initiatives as it hosts flight demonstrations and information stalls in the coming weeks.”
People in Crestmead and Marsden who want to use the service need to sign up for the trial on the company’s website.
Stuart Layt covers health, science and technology for the Brisbane Times. He was formerly the Queensland political reporter for AAP.