The first home delivery drone service has been launched in Australia, after years of test flights. Wing, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, will deliver takeaway food, coffee and medicines by drone to about 100 homes in Canberra.
It has been testing its drones in Australia since 2014 but many residents had complained about the noise. Wing said the feedback obtained during its trials had been “valuable” and it hoped to “continue the dialogue”.
Australia’s aviation authority gave Wing permission to launch a commercial service after examining its safety record and operational plans. It judged that the company posed no risk to residents or other aircraft.
Wing’s drones deliver small packages which are lowered into the customer’s garden on a length of string. However, the approval has several conditions attached. The drones will only be allowed to fly during the day and not before 08:00 AEST at the weekend. They will not be allowed to fly over crowds or main roads.
Trials of the drones had attracted complaints from residents in Bonython, Canberra, who said they were noisy and intrusive. The Bonython against Drones campaign said the devices could be heard from “a long way off, both coming and leaving”.
“When they do a delivery drop they hover over the site and it sounds like an extremely loud, squealing vacuum cleaner,” the group said on its website. In response, Wing said it had developed a quieter drone. The aviation authority says Wing must use this quieter drone for its commercial service.