Alphabet's Wing gets FAA approval to begin USA commercial drone deliveries

Daniel Fowler
April 24, 2019

Wing, the Alphabet (Google) spin off, has quietly overtaken Amazon and other consumer drone delivery programs to be first to the finish line in the USA and around the globe.

Major companies like Uber and UPS are also trying to secure similar federal approvals for commercial drone deliveries.

Having now received Air Carrier Certification from the FAA, Wing says it will continue its participation in the Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP) that was established in 2017 by the FAA, the Department of Transportation and others to accelerate the safe integration of drones into USA airspace.

It's the culmination of years of effort - a project that only an innovator with deep pockets like Alphabet could have attempted.

Packages from local businesses are set to be delivered in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Virginia, after the company consults with the local community, according to the release and a Medium post by the company.

It means the company will start delivering goods in rural Virginia within months.

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In the end, Wing appears confident in having successfully laid down the groundwork for other drone companies to apply for their own FAA approvals.

"For communities across the country, this presents new opportunities". "Safety is our most important focus, and we'll continue to work with the FAA on additional approvals to expand our capabilities".

To win FAA air carrier certification, the company submitted evidence demonstrating the safety of its systems, including data showing that a delivery by Wing carries a lower risk to pedestrians than the same trip made by auto.

The company has also conducted a test program in Australia that involved more than 3,000 drone deliveries to doorsteps, backyards and driveways.

"We're grateful for the vision of the administration, the Department of Transportation and the FAA for creating the UAS IPP to advance the drone industry in the U.S.", Wing said in a statement. "Safety continues to be our No. 1 priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential", she said in a statement. The first of Wing's drone deliveries were completed in 2014 in Queensland, Australia, where everything from dog treats to a first-aid kit were delivered to farmers. The goal is to launch a delivery trial later this year, Wing wrote in its Medium post.

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