If you're a student at Virginia Tech (located in Blacksburg, Virginia), things just got a whole lot more interesting for you this school year. While the school year may have just started, Alphabet is making sure this is a year that these students won't forget. Project Wing, which is a division of Alphabet, will be trialling delivering Chipotle burritos to students at Virginia Tech for about a month. Now Alphabet is trialling this, because there's going to be some issues with scaling this model so that everyone can order a burrito and have it delivered to them.
This project has been approved by the FAA. So Alphabet is doing this with all of the necessary clearance. Additionally, these drones will be automated. However, Alphabet has stated that there will be human pilots available, if the drones should need some help in getting these burritos to students. Since, the FAA doesn't allow drones to fly over people, participants in this trial will be shielded from the drones somehow. Of course, Alphabet nor Project Wing mentioned how that would work. This experiment is here to help Project Wing, but also the FAA, in working to make a low-level air traffic system for drones, that way the already crowded skies won't become a bigger issue as more drones take flight.
Alphabet will be sharing the data from this experiment with the FAA. The purpose of sharing the data is so that the FAA can better regulate drones flying around, and specifically those that are going to be delivering items. Alphabet isn't the only one looking to use drones for delivery, as Amazon is also looking to do the same thing. And Amazon will likely be using a whole lot more drones than Alphabet, given how many packages Amazon delivers each and every day.
If this experiment goes well for Project Wing and helps the FAA create better rules for regulating unmanned aircraft like drones, then this could go a long way to replacing the current drivers at UPS and FedEx. Since delivering packages using drones would be much quicker and cheaper for companies.