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Google Started Drone Delivery Service in Virginia

A Google affiliate began utilizing drones Friday to deliver customers’ Walgreens and FedEx purchases in a test being run in a Virginia town.

Wing, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet, obtained federal approval earlier this year to make commercial deliveries by drone. It was the first drone that got permission within the U.S., beating out Amazon’s Prime Air, which revealed its drone plans in 2013.

Earlier this month, UPS additionally received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly delivery drones. The company has been operating delivery tests with WakeMed’s hospital campus in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Wing partnered with Walgreens, FedEx, and local gift store Sugar Magnolia to carry out the tests in Christiansburg, Virginia. Walgreens customers within the town will be capable of ordering from a list of more than 100 items and getting them delivered to their doors by drones.

The first Walgreens drone delivery customers ordered cough and cold medicine. A Wing drone additionally delivered a FedEx package from Dick’s Sporting Goods to another family in town.

Susie Sensmeier received a purple winter vest she ordered from Dicks Sporting Goods delivered by a drone to her front yard. The 81-year-old mentioned she never thought she’d see something prefer it.

The Wing has already launched tests in Canberra and Logan City, Australia, and Helsinki. However, Friday’s flights mark its first live commercial deliveries within the U.S. since receiving the air carrier certification from the FAA.

Wing CEO James Ryan Burgess noted the speed with which drones could make deliveries sometimes within minutes of ordering and the environmental profit of getting fewer delivery trucks on roads.

Privacy and safety considerations have been a concern throughout the U.S. as drone use increases. However, Burgess stresses that Wing’s delivery drones don’t operate with the same intention as those flown for hobbies.

The goal of Wing’s drones is not to take pictures and video, he stated, however, instead to safely make deliveries. There are cameras on Wing’s drones that are used for navigation; however, Burgess mentioned the pictures are processed onboard the aircraft and not streamed back to Wing’s main servers.