Transportation News

Google’s Parent Company Alphabet Will Begin ‘Wing’ Aerial Drone Deliveries in Finland

Wing, the Alphabet-owned drone delivery startup, has announced that it will launch a free 10-minute trial distribution service starting in spring 2019 in Finland.

Transforming the Way Goods Are Transported

As reported by TechCrunch, Wing, the drone delivery X project that “graduated” into full company status under the Alphabet umbrella this past July, is taking flight in Europe.

Wing announced that it will start a new pilot in Finland beginning in the spring of 2019 in Helsinki, delivering goods and packages of up to 1.5 kilograms (about 3.3 pounds) within a distance of up to 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

Deliveries will be available for free as part of the trial, although the company intends to charge for them if a full commercial service launches.

The company has spent the past 18 months trailing the customer experience of drone delivery with thousands of deliveries in south-eastern Australia, partnering with local businesses to deliver a range of food and drinks, medicine and household items.

“We’re excited to launch our drone delivery service in Finland in the spring of 2019, which will be our first operations in Europe. Finns are internationally renowned for being early-adopters of new technologies, and we’re looking forward to working with the community and local businesses to find the best way to implement our services in the Helsinki area. Based on what we know about the winter weather in Finland, we're pretty confident that if our drones can deliver here, they can deliver anywhere!”

As well as offering quicker deliveries at cheaper prices to both businesses and customers, Wing claims its battery-powered drones have an environmental advantage over ground-based alternatives.

The company notes that 12 percent of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions result from road transportation and that its deliveries have a carbon footprint that’s 22 times lower than traditional alternatives.

As reported by The Verge, Wing’s biggest drone-delivery rival Amazon has been testing “Prime Air” drone deliveries in the UK since 2016.

Read: From Click to Customer Delivery in 13 minutes, Amazon’s Prime Air Drone Trial Begins

However, neither Amazon nor Wing has yet conducted any large-scale tests in the US, due in part to the country’s stricter aviation rules.

An attempt by Wing to deliver Starbucks in the US was wound down after a couple of months, while Amazon has been quiet since its delivery of sunscreen to a robotics conference in 2017.

For drone delivery services to be viable, the technology giants must show that their drones are safe and reliable.

Critics also question whether the public will want noisy drones delivering goods in towns and cities.

But Wing says drone delivery is "safer, faster and more environmentally friendly than ground delivery".

Autonomous Drones for Warehouse Inventory Checks and Yards

PINC, a recognized industry leader in autonomous drones or aerial robots, allows companies to apply autonomous drone technology, coupled with artificial intelligence, advanced computer vision, RFID, and other sensor capabilities, to significantly improve the operational effectiveness and efficiency of warehouse inventory checks and yards.

Read: 5 Ways to Streamline Supply Chain Logistics Operations with Autonomous Robots & Drones

“All large companies are looking at how robots - in one form or another - can be applied to their environments,” says Matt Yearling, CEO at PINC.

“An Aerial robot/drone is no different, the whole point of the operation is that it shouldn’t add to the workload of the operation; people just want to push the button and let the robot do its thing.”

Related: The Emerging Role for Warehouse Drones in the Supply Chain

The Emerging Role for Warehouse Drones in the Supply Chain

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