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Alphabet's Wing Launches Drone Delivery in Australia

April 9, 2019

Wing envisions a future when everyone can have access to goods they need as soon as they need them, delivered straight to their doorstep.

Wing has launched their first air delivery service in North Canberra . The service allows customers to order a range of items such as fresh food, hot coffee or over-the-counter chemist items on our mobile app, and have them delivered directly to their homes by drone in minutes.

The delivery service will initially be available to a limited set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin. We expect to gradually expand to more customers in Harrison and Gungahlin in the coming weeks and months.

Whether you’re a parent with a sick child at home and have run out of baby paracetamol, a busy professional who forgot to pick up fresh bread during your regular weekly shop, or you simply just want to order your morning flat white without the hassle of having to drive to the cafe, Wing has teamed up with local Canberra businesses to give customers the opportunity to have a range of goods delivered in a handful of minutes.

Initially the launch partners will include: Kickstart Expresso, Capital Chemist, Pure Gelato, Jasper + Myrtle, Bakers Delight, Guzman Y Gomez, and Drummond Golf. Wing aims to connect with more local businesses in the Gungahlin area about how thry can help them reach more customers faster, safer and more sustainably and encourage any local merchants who are interested in learning more to get in touch with them.

Wing has been testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014. Over the past 18 months, Wing has delivered food, small household items and over the counter chemist products more than 3,000 times to Australian homes in Fernleigh Park, Royalla and Bonython communities.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority noted:

Currently a delivery drone is able to transport small ‘just-in-time’ supplies to someone within about 10kms of the base station. This might include food, medicines, or even small items of hardware.

Wing

We have approved Wing Aviation Pty Ltd to operate ongoing delivery drone operations in North Canberra. Wing Aviation Pty Ltd is a licensed and certified drone operator.

They will be rolling out their service in some areas of Gungahlin, initially only available to 100 eligible homes in Crace, Palmerston and Franklin. Wing will gradually and over time introduce more homes for service.

Wing have been testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014, refining their aircraft and systems. Over the past 18 months, Wing has delivered food, small household items and over the counter chemist products more than 3000 times.

They have satisfied us that their operation meets an acceptable level of safety. Wing were required to submit a safety case to CASA as part of their application process which included information about the reliability of the drones.

Following an assessment of the safety case, we have permitted Wing to operate over North Canberra and in closer proximity to a person, than our regulations would normally permit.

As the safety regulator, the issue of privacy and noise is not in our remit.

The system is automated—however a licensed drone pilot is always at the helm.

Wing works within our current guidelines for commercial drone operators flying over 2kg and these approvals are aligned with regulations and in accordance with similar instruments issued to other operators.

Operating times

Wing drones currently fly only in the following hours:

  • Monday to Saturday from 7am to 8pm
  • Sunday and public holidays from 8am to 8pm.

Safety

While an accident is unlikely to occur, pilots will know instantly if any of their drones operate outside of a standard mission. If this happens, the operator will decide if the safest course of action is to the land the aircraft, rather than continue the flight.

In the unlikely event the drone encounters a problem, it is designed to automatically land very slowly. The aircraft are equipped with flashing strobe lights.

If you do have one land on your property, Wing has an emergency response plan which will despatch one of their own crew vehicles to site immediately. The safest thing you can do is simply to leave it alone until the operator is on site.

Noise complaints

As the safety regulator, the issue of aircraft (drone) noise is not in our remit. Wing has included some information on the noise drones make on their website.

Privacy complaints

You are encouraged to contact Wing with questions about their privacy policies on their website. As the safety regulator, the issue of privacy is not in our remit.

If you are concerned about drones and your personal privacy, you can contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner for more information or telephone 1300 363 992. Before making a complaint to OAIC, you must complain directly to the agency or organisation. If they do not respond within 30 days, or you are dissatisfied with the response, you can then take your complaint to the OAIC.

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