In an effort to stay competitive with Amazon, Google announced it is in the process of developing its own delivery drones in its research laboratory. Other programs being experimented on at Google’s “X” lab include self-driving cars, Google Glass, Internet beaming balloons called Project Loon.
Google’s “Project Wing” may take several years before it is fully operational, though in test flights, the company’s drones were able to deliver a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats and water to two farmers over a distance of one kilometer in Australia.
In order to get the drones off the ground, Amazon and Google require government approval to fly commercial drones in several countries, including the U.S, where commercial use of drones is largely banned.
Google could use the drones for same-day delivery on purchases, as opposed to the cars it currently uses in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York. In addition to using the drones as a delivery vehicle, Google states in its Project Wing pamphlet that the drones can also be used to carry emergency supplies to areas damaged by natural disasters.
“Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving goods, including options that are cheaper, faster, less wasteful and more environmentally sensitive than what’s possible today,” says Google in its Project Wing pamphlet.