Drone delivery has been one of the biggest stories of 2019, with major firsts from the FAA and drone service providers. From becoming the first certified drone air carrier to medical drone deliveries and the IPP, Google spin-off Wing was a major player. Here, Wing reflects back on what happened last year: showing the way for more significant progress in 2020.
The following is republished with permission from Wing.
In April, Wing became the first drone operator to be certified as an air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). With its expanded Air Carrier certificate, Wing’s permissions are the first to allow multiple pilots to oversee multiple unmanned aircraft making commercial deliveries simultaneously to the general public. This paved the way for Wing to conduct the most advanced drone delivery trial in the US — delivering packages, over-the-counter medication, snacks and gifts to residents of Christiansburg, Virginia.
In partnership with FedEx Express, Walgreens, and Sugar Magnolia, a much-beloved local business, we’re improving access to health care products, creating new avenues of growth for local businesses, and exploring ways to enhance the efficiency of last-mile delivery service.
In March, Wing launched the world’s first commercial drone delivery service in Mitchell, Canberra, Australia, which we’ve since expanded to serve four nearby suburbs. We’ve partnered with nearly 20 local merchants, serving a range of household staples like fresh bread and milk, coffee, gelato, artisanal cheeses, and donuts. We’ve also recently added our second service in Australia, in the country’s fastest-growing city, Logan.
We also landed in Finland this year. We’re now delivering fresh salads, meatballs for two, and other meals and snacks to residents of Helsinki’s Vuosaari district. In Helsinki, we delivered to the common areas of multi-unit buildings for the first time, a significant early step as approximately two out of every three residents in European Union nations live in apartments or semi-detached houses.
Building tools to help all drone operators access the sky safely
Beyond the growth of our delivery services, 2019 saw the launch of our first OpenSky product in Australia. OpenSky is a family of software products that gives drone operators a greater understanding of, and access to, the sky around them.
In 2019, we, along with multiple industry partners, also successfully demonstrated the viability of the InterUSS Platform. InterUSS is a flexible, distributed system that allows multiple drone service suppliers (known in the industry as USSs) operating in the same general area to share safety information while still maintaining privacy. Wing is a big believer in open standards, and we support the development of safe and compliant drone operations. In September, the Linux Foundation agreed to host and support the growth and development of InterUSS as an industry-wide interoperability platform.
Finally, we were pleased to see further development on the remote identification front across the drone industry. In late 2019, Wing participated in two major Remote ID demonstrations in Switzerland and the US The demos, conducted with a range of industry partners and regulators, highlighted the benefits of remote ID based on the proposed ASTM standard is a significant step towards enabling safe, open, and secure airspace.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam or (for paid consulting engagements only) request a meeting through AdvisoryCloud:
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