Submitted a company Google’s Wing has launched a pilot program to launch its drones from the rooftop of a shopping mall in Australia just steps away from stores that deliver goods for delivery.
The company said in a press release that it has made more than 2,500 deliveries from a shopping center in Logan to nearby neighborhoods south of Brisbane.
The test is being conducted in partnership with Vicinity Centers, which operates malls across Australia.
“For the first time, we’re sharing our drones with companies in their facilities,” said Wing’s Head of Policy and Community Affairs in Australia. This is instead of local companies having to share their goods with us at our delivery facility.
This experiment is an attempt to approximate the company’s drone delivery model with how small businesses normally function.
Wing has so far worked in Australia’s pilot program at the Grand Plaza Mall in Logan with companies that sell sushi, juice and tea-based drinks. The company said a pharmacy has also started selling over-the-counter drugs and other items.
While it’s too early to tell if such a thing could benefit declining stores, Vicinity Centers is looking at the partnership as a way to expand its business, said Justin Mills, the company’s chief innovation and information officer.
“The retail industry is changing,” Mills said in the statement. Vicinity Centers uses a testing and learning approach in areas critical to the future role of Australian malls.
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Google is testing its drones in Australia, the United States and Finland
Wing, Amazon’s Prime Air and UPS, along with dozens of smaller startups, are racing to create a new business model that uses small drones to speed delivery of goods directly to customers.
However, routine and large-scale deliveries by drones are still a long way off. Companies struggle with factors ranging from their profitability to public acceptance.
Meanwhile, the industry is still working out some of the finer points of the potentially challenging technology, such as how to prevent dozens of self-connected planes from flying together.
Regulators such as the US Federal Aviation Administration have yet to draft new rules allowing such flights.
A landing pad that can accommodate at least 16 Wing drones has been installed across the rooftop of the mall. Last summer, Wing passed 100,000 deliveries at its test sites in Australia, the United States and Finland.
The company also said it plans to expand testing operations in the United States. Wing works with Virginia Tech on its US testing program in Christiansburg, Virginia.
The company operates a hybrid aircraft of more than 1.2 meters in length that can take off vertically and then fly horizontally in the same way as an airplane. It carries the parcel in its hollow. Once the aircraft reaches the drop point, a cable drops the package onto the ground. While the plane hovered overhead.
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