Google’s Parent Alphabet Pursues Broader Drone Rights For Wing

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Alphabet subsidiary Wing is looking to expand its delivery drone operations to allow flight control from a central command hub, Bloomberg reported on Friday (April 23).

A central hub would enable Wing’s pilots to monitor operations remotely without being in the aircraft’s lift-off or landing space, according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) filing in the Federal Register.

By operating from a central point, Wing indicated that its drone deliveries would be more efficient. The Silicon Valley startup also indicated that it wants permission to have its drones take off from more than one location within an operating area, according to Bloomberg.

Further, Wing has requested that the FAA pulls back on the number of checks conducted to every 12 months instead of every three months, Reuters reported.

New FAA rules went into effect on Wednesday (April 21) that permit small drones to fly at night and over people without special permission from the government.

Wing has been testing its system in Christiansburg, Virginia, since 2019 and has so far completed thousands of deliveries to people’s homes without an accident, per Reuters.

The FAA-approved drone deliveries by Wing in 2019, in collaboration with FedEx Express and Walgreens. The Alphabet subsidiary also teamed up with Virginia Tech and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership as a part of the Transportation Department’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program. Amazon also got FAA approval to fly its drones for Prime delivery.

The pandemic helped accelerate the adoption of drones amid heightened demand for everyday essentials, logistic tie-ups and the need for contactless deliveries.

Tel Aviv commercial drone delivery startup Flytrex started delivery by drone in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2017. Company Co-Founder and CEO Yariv Bash said in an interview with PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster that the company is likely the first with flight experience to be part of the FAA’s pilot program for drones.



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