Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) is the latest company to get in on the drone wars as its engineers have begun testing them for deliveries. According to reports from The Telegraph and The Wall Street Journal, the search giant has successfully delivered a number of small items to locations in the Australian outback.
Google tests Project Wing
Google’s Project Wing is much bigger than the drones made by competitors like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and even Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (NYSE:DPZ). It has a wingspan of about 4.9 feet and runs on four propellers that are driven by electric motors. It stands two-and-a-half feet tall, and the propellers run at different positions to cover different parts of the flight. There’s an opening for the package in the middle of the drone’s wing.
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So far, the drone has delivered candy bars, water, dog treats and a first aid kit to farmers who live in Queensland, Australia. Video shows Google’s prototype hovering over its delivery destination and then using a string to drop its load.
Google’s drones stretch back years
Google said it started doing test flights with its drones last year. The company has been working on developing them for the last three years. Engineers said they expected that it would take years to develop a system with multiple drones making multiple deliveries every day.
Engineers want to have the drones flying preset flights of between 130 feet and 200 feet. Navigation will be important in order for the drones to choose the most efficient path, control noise and respect people’s safety and privacy while also delivering items right to someone’s doorstep.
Rise of the drones
Although the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has so far banned the use of drones in U.S. airspace, that hasn’t kept companies from working on them. Last year Amazon said it was testing using drones to make package deliveries. Earlier this year, the online retailer requested permission from the FAA to be able to test its drones in open airspace in the U.S.
Amazon has said it could take years for regulators to approve the use of drones to deliver packages. The company has been lobbying the government to get the right for civilians to be able to use drones. The Wall Street Journal suggests that when Google throws its full weight behind the use of drones, U.S. regulators could decide to budge because the company’s influence tends to weigh heavily on public policy.