Alphabet’s Wing unveils a string of prototype designs for larger drone deliveries

The wing is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. that develops drone-based freight delivery technology. The company completed their first real-world deliveries in 2014. It has operations in Australia, the United States, and Finland.

Over the past six years, Wing developed its aircraft specifically designed for small parcel delivery. It has now unveiled a series of new prototype aircraft designed to handle a variety of payloads- from a pill bottle to a piece of furniture.

According to Wing CEO Adam Woodworth, the idea is to match the package size with the drone size to limit costs, energy, and materials expended.

Just as the ideal vehicle for carrying a ton of gravel would be a dump truck rather than a sedan, the ideal aircraft to carry a bottle of medication is not the same as the best one to deliver a gallon of milk, and neither is suited to deliver a refrigerator

Woodworth wrote in a blog post

The latest set of drones, all in the prototype phase, features a smaller option to transport prescription medicine weighing up to 0.6 lbs, and a larger one to carry packages no heavier than 7 lbs.

What is common though, is that all the designs have the same basic design- some propellers to lift vertically, others to propel the aircraft forward and fixed wings to increase lift and efficiency while in flight.

Representative | SlashGear

We can have tiny planes for pharmaceutical delivery, big planes for shipping fulfillment, long range aircraft for logistic flights, and dedicated hovering platforms for delivery in cities.

Adam Woodworth

The company is working on a modular approach for its “library”- which would feature these different sets of models and can be tailored according to the operational requirements as and when required.

Aligned by a core set of capabilities–efficient flight, precision delivery, optimized airframes, and autonomous navigation–each of these designs is suited to a different use. These aircraft represent a more efficient approach to multimodal delivery that is safer and more sustainable too

Adam Woodworth

Specs

Dezeen
Length1.3 m
Speed104.4 km/h
Wingspan1 m
Roundtrip Distance20km
Weight without package5.5 kg
Package weight1.2kg
wing

No timeline on the possible entry of these drones into commercial service has been issued by the company yet.

Drone delivery although limited by regulatory constraints, is slowly catching up with Wing commencing deliveries in some suburbs of Dallas-Fort Worth earlier this year-an expansion from significant operations in Australia.

SOURCE(s)

COVER: CNET

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