The Internet giant has revealed that it started conducting first test of self-flying delivery drones after two year of working.
The project is known as Project Wing, and is being developed at Google X, the company’s secret research lab, which is also developing its self-driving car and Glass wearable computer.
Google has been working on the project for two years, but only this month a team of Google engineers and experts on unmanned aerial vehicles, called UAVs, began testing of drones on a farm in Queensland, Australia.
“The first delivery flight took off carrying Cherry Ripe chocolate bars to its planned destination: a farm about 1km away. Within minutes, the vehicle arrived, hovered overhead and gently lowered the package to the ground. When [the farmer] retrieved the package, he was delighted to find one of his favorite snacks, something he‚Äôd usually purchase in town nearly 10km away,” Google said.
“Once the vehicle departed, he radioed to the team and requested treats for his farm dogs, who were a bit jealous they‚Äôd been left out. Shortly after he made the call, the vehicle was back over his farm, lowering a parcel with the dog treats.”
The company designed its own prototype hybrid drone with fixed wings and four rotors for the tests. It is 1.5 meters wide and can soar as high as 60 meters, far enough up to dodge houses and trees.
However, Google admits it will take years to create a service with vehicles flying multiple deliveries each day. There are also some other obstacles to deal with such as safety features, noise and tune navigation issues.
“Local delivery of products is the next battlefront,” said Sameet Sinha, an analyst with B. Riley & Co. “Google has had its eyes on e-commerce, basically trying to get around Amazon.”
The tech company says that the drones will fly a programmed route with just the push of a button, and they’ll follow rules to respond safely if they run into unexpected situations like a gust of wind. Eventually Google said it could use unmanned flying vehicles to deliver shopping items to consumers at home.
“These planes have much more in common with the Google self-driving car than the remote-controlled airplanes people fly in parks on weekends,‚ÄĚ the company explained. According to Google, in future the drones could be used for disaster relief by delivering aid to isolated areas – and for package delivery.
‘Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving goods ‚Äď including options that are cheaper, faster, less wasteful and more environmentally sensitive than what’s possible today,’ the firm said.
Actually, it is not the first time when Google tries to conquer the sky. In April it acquired a drone company, Titan Aerospace, for a reported $60 million.
Moreover, it is also working on Project Loon, which is testing the use of high-altitude balloons to bring Internet connections to remote areas. It also works with Makani, a company developing airborne wind turbines that hover between 80 and 350 meters in the air, reports CNN.