It looks like Amazon isn’t the only one with plans for a drone delivery. About a year ago, Google’s secret research lab, Google X, introduced its plans for a drone delivery system called Project Wing. Now, there’s a estimated launch date to look forward to.
By 2017, Google plans to have unmanned aircraft delivering an array of goods to its buyers. At an Air Traffic Control Association in Washington D.C., Project Wing’s project leader David Vos said the goal is to have a commercial business up and running by then.
Right now, Google’s drones will have a wingspan of about five feet and be equipped with GPS, cameras, electrically-driven propellers, and radio. But because other companies will target consumers with their delivery service, there are rumors that Google may use theirs for business or for emergencies instead.
In an article by Trusted Reviews, Google X’s Captain of Moonshots, Astro Teller, said, “Even just a few of these [drones], being able to shuttle nearly continuously could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation.”
Currently, anyone interested in creating a drone delivery program must wait for the FAA to formulate the rules for the commercial use of unmanned aircraft; the FAA still has to answer questions like:
- How far will the drones be allowed to fly?
- How will the police/law enforcement deal with dangerous fliers?
- What kind of certificates will the operators be required to have?
- Will the drones fly from distribution centers or delivery trucks?
- Will people buy enough items to make this profitable?
This pause on regulations makes it a bit of a race between Amazon, Google, and other drone contenders like Walmart and Alibaba, but nevertheless, no matter who gets to launch their drone delivery service first, it will be quite an interesting breakthrough.
Here is Google’s introductory video from last year: