Google parent Alphabet Inc’s Wing will launch drone deliveries in Finland in the Spring of 2019, according to a statement. The company announced that it will start to deliver goods and packages up to 3.3 pounds in a range of 6.2 miles in Helsinki. Last July, Wing recently became an independent company as it was spun out of Alphabet’s X research division. The company is led by James Ryan Burgess and has been actively testing with drone deliveries in Australia, delivering burritos among other things.
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Alphabet’s Wing drone deliveries in Finland
According to Wing’s statement and as we have reported before, the drone company has been testing their drone delivery business in Southeastern Australia for the last year and a half. Wing had partnered with local companies to deliver burritos, medicine, and other household items. Wing has completed four separate trials in Australia, completing around 55.000 drone deliveries. Customers will be able to use an app on their smartphone to order items to be delivered by drone. The drone deliveries will be free in Finland until the service is officially launched, just like in Australia.
On the Wing Finland website, the company states:
“We’re excited to launch our drone delivery service in Finland in spring of 2019, which will be our first operations in Europe. Finns are internationally renowned for being early-adopters of new technologies, and we’re looking forward to working with the community and local businesses to find the best way to implement our services in the Helsinki area. Based on what we know about the winter weather in Finland, we’re pretty confident that if our drones can deliver here, they can deliver anywhere!”
Interview with Burgess
According to TechCrunch, Burgess said in an interview that Wing sees a clear opportunity to fill a gap when it comes to delivering goods, not just because of the environmental and safety benefits over regular ground-based vehicles, but also from an economic perspective. Something we have seen confirmed in earlier tests by Mercedes-Benz as well.
“Today a recipient is charged a delivery fee, but so is the merchant,” Burgess said. “Our aim is to provide a service at a cost lower for both. We think single numbers of dollars will be the likely amount an order will cost when it is commercially live.”
Today’s announcement is a big step in the right direction for Wing. The company has yet to make an impact here in the US. Early on the company had started initiatives with Chipotle and Starbucks but neither one of those come to fruition. So far all we have seen was the Chipotle demonstration in Virginia.
“We are still working in the US, but the regulatory environment is more complicated,” Burgess said according to TechCrunch. “The Federal Aviation Administration has a tough job to do.”
In the same interview, Burgess said that “Finland is known as a country that is forward-looking, with smarter ways of doing things.”
Only a few days ago, we reported on Amazon’s drone delivery service not having delivered on Jeff Bezos’ promise from 2013. It remains to be seen if Wing will beat the retail giant to the finish here in the US.
WIng is part of Alphabet’s Other Bets division, which includes companies such as the self-driving car project Waymo, cyber-security company Chronicle, Loon an internet delivery balloon business and Verily, a life sciences business.
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