Alphabet’s Wing Aviation first to receive FAA approval for drone delivery
Wing Aviation has become the first drone delivery company to receive Air Carrier Certification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Wing Aviation, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has become the first drone delivery company to receive Air Carrier Certification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Wing has worked for six years to build a small, lightweight aircraft and navigational system that can deliver small packages on demand to specific destinations in only a few minutes.
A blog post from Wing said: “This is an important step for the FAA and the drone industry in the United States; the result of years of work to safely integrate drones into the national airspace.”
US Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao, added: “This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our number one priority as this technology continues to develop and realise its full potential."
FAA certification required Wing to submit test flight data to the FAA from over 70,000 test flights and more than 3,000 deliveries to the doorsteps, driveways and backyards of customers in Australia. According to Wing, the data shows that “delivery by Wing carries a lower risk to pedestrians than the same trip made by car".
Trial planned for this year
The drones could be used to deliver goods such as medicine or food and could benefit people such as families, shift workers, those with limited mobility and other busy consumers, Wing says.
The company also says the all-electric drones will reduce traffic on our roads and pollution and carbon emissions in our skies.
From here, Wing will continue to participate in the FAA's Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) Drone Integration Pilot Program (IPP) in Southwest Virginia. The company also plans to engage with businesses and community members in the Blacksburg and Christiansburg areas to demonstrate the technology, answer questions and solicit feedback.
Wing aims to launch a drone delivery trial later this year.