Yesterday, Google unveiled its latest project: a product delivery service powered entirely by drone aircraft over 3 years in the making. Coming from the same Google X teams that developed the likes of self-driving cars and Google Glass, the drone program, currently dubbed Project Wing, received a feature-length reveal in The Atlantic.
The drones employ a hybrid design, combining fixed-wing and helicopter elements, so that they can take off vertically in tail-sitter configuration. Google did not confirm that it will settle on this design for any final model. The drones’ detect-and-avoid system is far off, and this, among other concerns, has added years to Google’s Project Wing time expectations.
The project’s genesis was linked to a conversation about rapidly increasing delivery speeds, comparing the days of the Pony Express to firms like FedEx. “We’re starting to see same-day service actually change the world,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin told Roy. “Why would we think that the next 10x—being able to get something in just a minute or two—wouldn’t change the world?”
However, the report only indirectly addressed the Federal Aviation Administration’s recent rejection of Amazon’s proposed flying drones as a delivery mechanism, postulating that Google might use its lobbying clout as the project picks up steam to overturn any current restrictions. The feature also skipped explaining how Google might launch a product warehouse and distribution system from which drones would carry products to consumers.
What do you think? Radical and convenient change or just an offshoot of the instant-gratification culture we’re come to love?