Google secretly tests drone deliveries in Australia (video)

29 Aug 2014

A Google Project Wing drone in action

Look out Amazon, there’s another company testing drones to deliver goods – internet search giant Google has secretly been putting its autonomous aerial vehicles through its paces for the past two years.

Google’s test research arm Google X has been developing the drone project, dubbed Project Wing.

Prototype vehicles have been tested in Queensland, Australia, and they have been successful in delivering packages to remote farms in the north-eastern state from neighbouring properties, BBC reported.

Australia’s more ‘progressive’ rules about the use of drones are what led Google to test the vehicles in the country.

Google’s drones won’t necessarily be used just to shuttle goods between farms, however. The company said its long-term goal is to develop drones that could be used to deliver aid to isolated areas after disasters such as floods, earthquakes or extreme weather, BBC added.

The drones e-commerce giant Amazon had been trialling, on the other hand, would pick up packages from depots and deliver them to a house or business within half an hour of the order being placed.

Project Wing sprung from an idea to deliver defibrillators to people suspected of having heart attacks more quickly than an ambulance could.

In terms of spec, Google’s white and glossy drones have a wingspan of about 1.5m (4.9 feet), and contain four electrically-driven propellers. They each weigh 8.5kg (18.7lb), and up to 10kg (22lb) when carrying a package.

Watch one in action here:

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic