Google Set To Launch Air Delivery Service Project Wing In 2017
Alphabet, Google's new holding company, will not be allowing itself to be out-droned by other companies, with its own drone delivery service named Project Wing expected to launch sometime within 2017.
Project Wing head David Vos said that Alphabet is in discussions with the Federal Aviation Administration, along with other stakeholders, on implementing an air traffic control system for drones. The system would be using Internet and cellular technology for the coordination of drone flights at heights of under 500 feet.
"Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017," Vos said at an air traffic control convention held near Washington.
Vos, the co-chair of the task force that has been charged with the creation of a drone registry, added that a system to identify drone pilots and to keep the unmanned aerial vehicles away from other aircraft could be established within the next 12 months.
Vos also said that a drone registry, which the government looks to have established by Dec. 20, is the first step in the implementation of an air traffic control system for drones.
Alphabet has much to gain from the approval of drone for commercial purposes. The company, along with Amazon and Alibaba, is among the increasing list of companies that are looking to use drone technology for delivering packages. However, such services are not expected to commence yet, with the FAA to publish its final rules over commercial drone operations in early 2016.
Project Wing was unveiled in August of last year through a video uploaded on YouTube that showed a field test of the project's most viable drone prototype. The drone had a width of 4.9 feet and a height of 2.6 feet, with a quad-copter design powered by four propellers that is similar to popular drones in the consumer market.
No details, however, have yet been released on what kind of drones Google will be using for its planned delivery service, or what kind of packages the service will be handling.
Amazon, on the other hand, has revealed octocopters that can carry around 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) worth of products to customers within 30 minutes of the order being sent in. Alibaba, meanwhile, successfully carried out earlier in the year a three-day test for drone deliveries in China.