Wing becomes first company awarded FAA certification to begin drone deliveries in the US
A month after Wing was given the green light to deliver various goods via drone in Australia's capital, Canberra, the Alphabet subsidiary has become the first company to get the official go-ahead from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin a commercial drone delivery service in the US. Wing announced it had received Air Carrier Certification from the FAA, which allows the company to begin delivering goods from businesses to households.
Delivering goods to homes via drone promises to be a game-changer for businesses and consumers alike, with the potential to reduce traffic congestion, pollution and carbon emissions, while getting goods (including medicines) to their ultimate destination much faster. There are numerous companies looking to blaze an air trail in this area, including Amazon, DHL, Airbus, UPS, Zipline and Uber, with various drone designs being pursued.
Wing's all-electric drones feature a fixed-wing body with two propellers for more energy-efficient horizontal flight, and two bars extending to the front and rear of the body that support a total of 12 propellers for vertical lift. The company says the drone is designed to reduce noise, which is a major concern as there are going to be fleets of these things zooming around our cities and hovering over properties. The drone stays airborne when making deliveries, lowering its payload to the ground via a retractable tether.
The FAA certification comes after more than 70,000 test flights by the company, more than 3,000 of which saw deliveries made to homes in Australia. Wing says its submission to the FAA for certification included data showing that deliveries by drone posed a lower risk to pedestrians than if the same trip were made by car.
Having now received Air Carrier Certification from the FAA, Wing says it will continue its participation in the Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Pilot Program (UAS IPP) that was established in 2017 by the FAA, the Department of Transportation and others to accelerate the safe integration of drones into US airspace. Wing's involvement will see the company reaching out to business and community members in Southwest Virginia, specifically in the Blacksburg and Christiansburg areas, to demonstrate its technology with the goal of launching a delivery trial later this year.
"This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our Number One priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential," says U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao.
As well as continuing its tests in Australia, Wing is scheduled to begin a trial in Finland in the coming months.
Source: Wing Medium