Wing, the drone delivery arm of Alphabet, has launched what it claims is the world’s first rooftop drone delivery system.
The system is located on a rooftop at the Grand Plaza shopping center in Logan, Australia.
Wing said it offers two benefits:
- First, it uses traditionally under-utilized rooftop space and allows Wing to shrink its operational footprint and expand drone deliver access without new real estate.
- Second, the system offers co-location with retailers, meaning it can deliver directly to customers allowing for more delivery offerings and expanded reach.
Because nearly every business has a roof, rooftop delivery models open up the possibility for more businesses to offer drone delivery systems with no cost of added infrastructure or building space.
In the past month, Wing said it has made more than 2,500 contactless deliveries straight from the rooftop of the Grand Plaza under the pilot program. The deliveries included smoothies from Boost Juice, bubble tea from Chatime and rolls from Sushi Hub.
The company will expand its delivery to over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, personal care, general health and beauty products from TerryWhite Chemmart. All these companies are in the Grand Plaza shopping center.
Wing said the pilot program involving the rooftop launching system is a way to combat the strains in the last-mile supply chain that accounts for 15% to 20% of the total cost of retail transactions in the form of delivery fees or the time spent by consumers picking up their goods. Wing estimates that by 2030, if drones were to deliver 4% to 6% of household purchases, retail sales in Australia would grow by $2.2 billion.
Wing recently announced that it has flown more than 100,000 drone deliveries with the bulk being made in the area of Logan, Australia. Of these deliveries, drones have made 10,000 coffee runs, and delivered 1,200 roasted chickens and 1,700 snack packs.
Wing has also had recent issues with the local wildlife in Australia as ravens have been targeting its delivery drones for what the company believes is territorial disputes. The attacks caused Wing to pause its deliveries in parts of Canberra while it sorts through how to fix the issue.