Wing, Alphabet's drone delivery unit, designs bigger bird to deliver pasta, faster
Aerial delivery kit doubles payloads
Alphabet's drone delivery biz, Wing, has unveiled a drone capable of carrying up to five pounds (2.26 kg) of payload, almost doubling the capacity of its existing fleet.
Wing said it decided to make a larger aircraft after noticing that around 30 percent of its deliveries required multiple flights because the cargo ordered by customers was too heavy for a single drone to carry. A bigger drone means the company can improve efficiency by cutting the number of flights.
"Think of it like how airlines operate different aircrafts for different routes: This new aircraft will streamline our deliveries of larger orders," Wing's CEO Adam Woodworth said on Wednesday. "For example, you could order last-minute ingredients for dinner - pasta, marinara sauce, parmesan cheese, canned olives and garlic."
The craft can reach speeds of 65 miles per hour (104km/h) and has a range of 12 miles (19kms). The machine has multiple rotors mounted horizontally and vertically, and fixed wings too. Wing hasn’t disclosed the drone’s full specs, dimensions, or weight.
Here’s the craft in action.
Wing’s previous drones could carry up to 2.5lb (1.1kg) worth of stuff - not enough to fly all those items needed to make that dish for two.
The new larger drone is not really all that different from the smaller version. It has all the same core components and uses the same infrastructure and automation systems to charge its batteries and fly.
Engineers at Wing design vehicles based on its internal Aircraft Library, which contains different sets of components, like avionics, propulsion systems, and materials. These can be easily mixed and matched to come up with different configurations to make a new drone more easily.
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Wing has reportedly delivered over 350,000 orders to customers' homes across three continents. It currently operates in Finland, Australia, Ireland, and the US. It has partnered with retail outlet Walmart, food delivery app DoorDash, and healthcare logistics company Apian so far to deliver all sorts of things, including groceries, takeout, and medicine.
In 2022, the company made headlines after one of its drones crashed into power lines in an Australian suburb, disrupting power supply for over 2,000 residents. ®