Look up in the sky—it’s a bird, or a plane, or …. no, it’s actually a Google drone. This could become a common sight in less developed areas as Wing, the flying drone subsidiary of Alphabet’s Google, has been granted FAA approval to operate as a commercial airline. These aircraft are designed to fly small packages to fulfill online delivery orders. Many retail verticals could benefit, including restaurants, groceries, and big box stores. While the drones are being tested in Virginia, the growth potential is promising. But it will take some months of operations to determine cost and safety factors, as well as to see how consumers take to the new service. But in the meantime, find a spot in your yard that will serve as a good delivery drop zone.
A Bloomberg article discusses more on this topic which is excerpted below.
An offshoot of Alphabet Inc.’s Google has become the first drone operator to receive government approval as an airline, an important step that gives it the legal authority to begin dropping products to actual customers.
The subsidiary, Wing, now has the same certifications that smaller airlines receive from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation. It plans to begin routine deliveries of small consumer items in two rural communities in Virginia within months, the company said.
“It’s an exciting moment for us to have earned the FAA’s approval to actually run a business with our technology,” Wing Chief Executive Officer James Ryan Burgess said in an interview. He called it “pivotal” both for his company and the drone industry in general.
Drone regulations still don’t permit most flights over crowds and urban areas, limiting where Wing can operate. But the approvals signed by the FAA on Friday and Monday give the company the ability to charge for deliveries of clients’ goods in Virginia and apply for permission to expand to other regions.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group