Google's delivery drones head to Europe

Business Daily (Kenya) - - CORPORATE NEWS -

Google's par­ent com­pany, Al­pha­bet, will test its drone delivery ser­vice in Fin­land next year, it has an­nounced.

Helsinki will be the first Euro­pean lo­ca­tion for Wing, which has been test­ing drones in Aus­tralia. Its air­craft will de­liver pack­ages weigh­ing up to 1.5kg within min­utes of an or­der be­ing placed.

Sev­eral com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Wing and Ama­zon, are de­vel­op­ing drone delivery ser­vices but they have spent years in de­vel­op­ment with­out launch­ing.

In De­cem­ber 2013, Ama­zon chief ex­ec­u­tive Jeff Be­zos pre­dicted of drone jour­neys made by Wing in Aus­tralia de­liv­er­ing items such as medicine, cof­fee and house­hold goods

his com­pany's Prime Air delivery ser­vice would launch within five years.

How­ever, its ser­vice is still in de­vel­op­ment. Wing said its drones had made 55,000 jour­neys in Aus­tralia, de­liv­er­ing items such as medicine, cof­fee and house­hold goods. It said it had cho­sen Fin­land for its Euro­pean trial be­cause Fin­nish peo­ple were "renowned for be­ing early-adopters of new tech­nolo­gies".

It has in­vited them to share what prod­ucts they would like to see de­liv­ered by drone, with sug­ges­tions in­clud­ing break­fast, lunch, painkillers and house­hold es­sen­tials.

Cus­tomers will be able to place an or­der us­ing a smart­phone app and the drone delivery will be of­fered free of charge dur­ing the trial pe­riod. For drone delivery ser­vices to be vi­able, the tech­nol­ogy giants must show that their drones are safe and re­li­able.

Crit­ics also ques­tion whether the pub­lic will want noisy drones de­liv­er­ing goods in towns and cities.

But Wing says drone delivery is "safer, faster and more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly than ground delivery".

Wing is part of Al­pha­bet's Other Bets di­vi­sion, which in­cludes self-driv­ing car project Waymo and In­ter­net-delivery-bal­loon-maker Loon.

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