Google X Project Wing 4

On The Wing: Google X Does Delivery Via Air Drones

August 28, 2014 - Written By Phil Bourget

Oh wow, Google and its ever-secretive Google X team work hard for our future, showing us what is both possible and probable.  But today, man, they hit one into the sun!  Let me explain, but I’m giddy like you might be after hearing what Google X has to show us.  World, meet Project Wing. Drone delivery was a concept first teased by Amazon for local same-day delivery, and was met with the same offering from UPS.  Then we heard that people everywhere had the normal concern of ‘I don’t want a robot, a hackable robot, knowing my address and having the permission to drop a package, containing who-knows-what, on my location’, and people, within the next few months, stopped the attention, and the initiatives seem to have passed as fads, ahead of their time for a paranoid (and not completely unsubstantiated) public audience.  But now, Google and Google X think it’s time to show off what they’ve been working on for the past two years.

Project Wing, being one of the more logical names for a secret project from Google’s elusive X team of engineers, is a drone delivery system, much like Amazon’s and UPS’s, but with a twist in execution.  First, the drones aren’t regular drones you could buy as toys on the right budget; they look specially made and designed, as evidenced by the lowering and delivering system shown off in the official announcement video the team posted on YouTube.  The drone, once over the desired delivery location, lowers the package in a box down to the ground on a winch system of sorts, lets it land on the ground safe and sound, then unhooks its end of the winch from the package, raising it and returning for another package and deployment.  How cool does that sound?  It sounded cool to me, but the video is definitely a must-watch to see it actually happen.

The project is, as described in the video, very far from a real-world implementation or possibility, especially compared to Google’s driver-optional cars which are facing regulators as I type and as you read.  The Project Wing drones also look much like a concept car, in that they look as futuristic as the concept sounds, and that’s the sad part.  It will be a while before the Project Wing drones can bring you your prescription within the hour after handing in the slip to a pharmacist.  The good news, however, is that Google X has been in contact with regulators during the entire two years of prior secretive development, and the talks have been increasing as time passed up until now.  So it’s early to say it, but I think that Project Wing, when fully realized by Google, and cut down to legal size by government(s) obviously, will exist and make many of the small deliveries that we might need throughout a week, month, or year that much quicker and streamlined to actually have delivered.  Do you see Project Wing being a great improvement to shipping and delivery?  Or is it another breach of personal (air)space?  How badly do you think that a government could have Google cut the project down?  Let us know your thoughts, or if you’re just happy for more Google X-ness.