Wing CTO Adam Woodworth is one of the most influential aviation experts in the drone industry today – but very few people would recognize him. In a rare public appearance at this year’s SxSW conference, Woodworth talks about developing an aircraft that will allow millions of people to experience drone delivery in their daily lives.
Wing has offered the world it’s first look at drone delivery for everyday people: delivering drugstore items, cupcakes, library books, coffee and more to suburban homes. They’ve opened their ground-breaking drone delivery programs in the U.S. and Australia to small local businesses in addition to retail giants. Wing drone delivery has benefited the communities that they work in and the drone industry, as they demonstrate safe solutions and customer demand.
Disruption and Drone Delivery
Wing CTO Adam Woodworth has been instrumental in developing Wing’s aircraft, and in delivering on the vision of drones as part of the supply chain in communities around the world. Woodworth doesn’t view drone delivery as upending the supply chain – just as a way of making it better.
“Working in technology there is a lot of emphasis placed on disruption. How are we disrupting the current approach? And we usually find technical solutions that fundamentally change how things operate,” says Woodworth. “Drone delivery has the opportunity to not be as traditionally disruptive, but perhaps complementary to the existing solutions. Wing drones are never going to deliver a couch. They’re not going to go deliver a 50 pound bag of rice. But they are going to deliver small goods that would otherwise be carried around in a large car or in a big delivery van. And I think that there’s space in this industry so complementary solutions can come together to collectively solve a hard problem.”
Woodworth points out that drone delivery can be used to solve the unique problems of communities around the world.
“One of the most interesting questions I receive is, “What goes in the box?”
The Wing delivery drone can hold a package up to three pounds, so ‘what goes in the box’ has yielded a lot of very interesting answers. You get the more traditional things like coffee, prepared food, over the counter medicines, all those sort of things you typically associate with on-demand delivery. But we’ve also seen people apply this unique way of moving goods to their own problems. In Virginia, we delivered library books for school kids in the midst of COVID-19. In Finland, we’ve delivered Halloween candy. In Australia, we’ve even moved small construction goods for folks on a job site. I think the most fascinating bit is that the answer to that question is user-driven.”
Moving Out of the “What If”
Woodworth and Wing have helped move drone delivery from an idea to a reality: now they are ready to see that reality expand. As the first recipients of an FAA Part 135 license to perform commercial drone delivery in the United States, Wing’s work has paved the way for the drone industry to move out of the trial phase in limited areas to projects that scale across the country.
“Where does the industry, where does Wing go from here? We’ve answered some of the fundamental questions. This industry has moved out of the space of ‘what if’. We’ve moved out of the realm of science fiction, where you really only had the imagination of what the system could do. I think that the technology is ready, the customers are ready, the world is ready for the next phase of aviation.”
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 penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. 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.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.