Google sister company Wing announced today that it would be partnering with FedEx and the drugstore chain Walgreens to bring autonomous drone deliveries to the US in October.
The pilot program will be launched in Christiansburg, Virginia, one of the two areas in the state that Wing has been testing its drone technology for years. In April, Wing was certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to become what it says was the first company in the country to be able to offer autonomous drone deliveries. Wing has completed over 80,000 test flights and thousands of deliveries at its facilities in Australia and the US.
People expecting packages from FedEx will be able to choose to get their deliveries made via drone, assuming that they live in certain areas that Wing has designated it can safely deliver parcels in. Similarly, Walgreens customers will be able to order products, such as non-prescription medicine, and have them delivered by drone. Walgreens said in a release that 78% of the US population lives within 5 miles of one of its stores. Wing said that its drones can currently make a round-trip flight of about 6 miles (9.7 km), traveling about 60 miles per hour (97 km per hour), and can carry around 3 lbs (1.4 kg) of payload. The company also said that it would be offering deliveries from a local Virginia retailer, Sugar Magnolia. Wing won’t be charging for the delivery service itself during the trial.