Wing, the drone delivery arm of Alphabet, has introduced an automated system to support high volume logistics via drone delivery for both major metro areas and rural regions.
Called the Wing Delivery Network, the platform allows Wing to build new means of last mile logistics using a fleet of drones, pads that allow for takeoff, landing and recharge of batteries, and autoloaders that allow partners to preload packages for automated curbside pickup.
Part of Wing’s new delivery networks will be using curbside pickup.
The benefit here is that most retail locations due to COVID-19 have allotted space for curbside pickup. Using the Autoloader function, store employees will be able to latch packages onto a waiting drone and then it can take the package to a drop off location such as a customer’s home or a business. This requires no power or data connection, Wing said.
The drones in the Wing network can pick up, drop off, travel and charge in whatever pattern makes the most sense for users. With multiple charging spots and pad locations, the aircraft could be used to mix and match whatever works for different businesses.
These businesses and organizations working with Wing can oversee fleets of autonomous delivery drones and the network helps automate compliance with regulation each time a drone is turned on and checks that it is in the right place with the right software and is ready and approved to be flown.
Wing said it plans to roll out the capabilities for the network over the next 12 months and will be demonstrating it globally in the next year. By the middle of 2024, Wing expects millions of deliveries to be conducted through the network at lower cost per delivery than ground transportation for fast delivery of small packages.