As Amazon hits turbulence, Wing set to make 100,000th drone delivery

Wing drone deliveries Dallas-Fort Worth

Google’s drone delivery cousin Wing is flying high, and on course to drop its 100,000th order into a client’s hands later this week. The company’s announcement of that happy news starkly contrasts headlines generated earlier this month, when reports uncovered serious troubles in rival Amazon’s aerial delivery operations.

Wing set to pass drone delivery mark this week

Wing announced its looming 100,000 drone delivery milestone in a blog post Wednesday, where it also touted the booming business of its Logan, Australia-based operation. The company, which will mark its second year of service to the Brisbane suburb in September, said residents had accounted for nearly half of all Wing’s worldwide orders. Those have been logged at an impressive rate of one every 30 seconds during Wing working hours since the start of August. 

That activity inspired Wing to anoint Logan the world leader of drone delivery activity, where clients adopted the convenience during an introductory period filled with upheaval.

“Between bushfires of 2019, and the more recent COVID-19 lockdowns, Logan residents have ordered and received more than 50,000 deliveries directly to their homes by Wing delivery drones,” the company’s blog entry said of the city and suburbs of 110,000 people. “Logan residents have responded, ordering thousands of drone deliveries on-demand each week, and the city has laid a strong claim to be the drone delivery capital of the world.”

That ordering in Logan has, moreover, been on a dramatic uptick over time, with 50,000 deliveries made in the area during the past eight months alone. That represents half of the total worldwide milestone Wing said it will pass sometime later this week.

“Globally, Wing is on pace to surpass the 100,000 customer delivery mark in the next few days ­– on top of hundreds of thousands of test flights,” the blog raved. “What distinguishes the Logan operation from the various tests and trials going on around the world, beyond its order volume, is that it is a live, automated, and on-demand service. When an order comes in, Wing’s software systems send the best aircraft to perform the delivery from among Wing’s multiple operations sites.”

That happy news contrasts word that spread earlier in August about rival Amazon’s drone delivery troubles, notably its foundering UK unit. Despite much effort and revamping of its UK Prime Air operation over the years, reports said the affiliate was on the verge of closure for being what insiders called “one gigantic oversell” that was “never going to get off the ground.”

Logan set to become template of future aerial delivery success

Owned by Google parent company Alphabet, Wing – which also operates in the suburbs of Australian capital Canberra, Helsinki, Finland, and US city Christiansburg, Virginia – seems to have gotten things just right in Logan. 

Observers say one key to that success has been Logan’s relatively large population, and its urban landscape lacking the high-rises and structural density of nearby Brisbane, or cities like Melbourne and Sydney. Getting to retailers selling desired goods takes a bit more travel in Logan, they say, while flying them via drone is a faster, easier task for both clients and Wing drones.

Moreover, Logan’s 100,000 population approximates those of cities like New Orleans; Manchester, England; or Florence, Italy that Wing may be eyeing soon. As the company’s post noted, more than 2 billion people around the globe live in municipalities of under 500,000 residents, making them promising markets to try and repeat its drone delivery performances in Logan.

“Logan’s success implies a not-too-distant future in which similar high-volume drone delivery services could be replicated in similar cities, and even larger metro areas, around the world,” it stated.

So what did Wing craft carry to homes in world capital of drone deliveries? Over 10,000 cups of coffee, 1,700 children’s snack packs, 2,700 sushi rolls, 1,000 loaves of bread, and 1,200 roasted chickens ­– “hot chooks” in Aussie parlance. 

No accounting was given in the inevitable rolls of toilet paper flown, however.

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