Alphabet, the new holding company of Google, is aiming to roll-out its drone delivery service in 2017. Project Wing was first unveiled by the Google X research arm last year and, according to Reuters, Project head David Vos revealed the targeted launch date in Washington yesterday.

Speaking at an air traffic control convention in Washington, Vos is reported to have said, "Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017." In addition, he suggested that a system for identifying drone operators and keeping unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) away from other aircraft and controlled airspace could be set up within 12 months.

Reuters also revealed that Vos is in talks with the Federal Aviation Administration and other stakeholders with a view to setting up such a system, which would essentially be air traffic control (ATC) for drones that would use "cellular and Internet technology to coordinate UAV flights at altitudes under 500 ft (152 m)."

December 20 is mooted as being the date by which a drone registry will be in place, providing the first step towards a full ATC system for drones. "We're pretty much on a campaign here, working with the FAA, working with the small UAV community and the aviation community at large, to move things along," said Vos.

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