Wing delivery drone
Wing's 10-pound drone is delivering packages weighing up to 3 pounds over round trips of up to 12 miles. [Photo: Wing]

Deliveries Support Social Distancing

Drone delivery pioneer Wing has stepped up services to help customers confined to their houses receive goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said that in the past two weeks it has made more than 1,000 deliveries in four communities where it is conducting trial operations in the U.S., Australia, and Finland.

Last April, Wing became the first drone delivery service in the U.S. to be certified as an air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration. Since then, its 10-pound aircraft has made more than 100,000 flights, delivering packages weighing up to three pounds on round trips of up to 12 miles at speeds of up to 70 mph. The company has developed its own unmanned traffic management system based on mapping software.

In Christianburg, Virginia, the service has partnered with independent cafes and coffee shops, as well as with a Walgreens drugstore, to make deliveries in a way that avoids person-to-person contact in places where social-distancing rules are being enforced. Its fastest delivery so far was achieved two minutes and 47 seconds after the order was placed.

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Its initial plan is to deliver medical supplies to a North Carolina healthcare campus.

Wing, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, is currently providing the service free of charge to gather feedback from business users and their customers.

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