Google is working on producing autonomous machines that can be used to make deliveries in the quickest time possible. By launching the two-year program dubbed as "Project Wing," Google would be able to develop autonomous flying drones which can be used to deliver a huge variety of things during disasters when relief operations are conducted at areas that are hard to reach due to isolation.
Google chooses Queensland as a testing area because of Australia's relaxed rules on using drones. The prototype drone that was used has been designed with the capacity to take vertical take-offs and landings. Furthermore, its flight speed is measured to reach up to around 90 km per hour.
Design wise, Google says that the drone has a wingspan of 1.5 m. It has four electric propellers that aid it in driving. When it's not on a flying mode, the drone sits on the ground with its tail. It is then lifted into the air with the help of the four propellers. When it's on the flying mode, the drone moves in a horizontal direction. It has a weight of 8.5 kg and can carry an additional weight of 1.5 kg which gives it a total weight of 10 kg.
Google plans to improve its drone's ability in navigating between two points and also on its "detect and avoid" system which would keep the machine from running into things. The drones could be very useful in times of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, or any extreme weather conditions. Their lightweight design and speed of movement would allow them to take items such as batteries or medicines to people in affected areas which are not accessible to conventional vehicles.
"Even just a few of these, being able to shuttle nearly continuously could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation," says Astro Teller, captain of Moonshots which is the Google X's monicker for big-thinking projects. "There are situations like emergency response after a flood, or an earthquake, or a tornado, where bringing medicine or other supplies to people who are in need can be very valuable and time can be of the essence."
Project Wing is a part of Google X which is under Google's R&D division. Google X is also working on developing self-driving cars which is another ambitious project of Google.
In the meantime, Google also has to consider the rules that were set by the Federal Aviation Administration on using "unmanned aerial vehicles." According to the FAA, each tech company should get approval from the administration and would be allowed to run test only at a government run test site. In spite of this, the search company remains optimistic in bringing the drones to everyone's doorstep.