Inside Google’s Secret Drone-Delivery Program

from A zipping comes across the sky. A man named Neil Parfitt is standing in a field on a cattle ranch
outside Warwick, Australia. A white vehicle appears above the trees, a
tiny plane a bit bigger than a seagull. It glides towards Parfitt,
pitches upwards to a vertical position, and hovers near him, a couple
hundred feet in the air. From its belly, a package comes tumbling
downward, connected by a thin line to the vehicle itself. Right before
the delivery hits the ground, it slows, hitting the earth with a tap.
The delivery slows, almost imperceptibly, just before it hits the
ground, hardly kicking up any dust. A small rectangular module on the
end of the line detaches the payload, and ascends back up the vehicle,
locking into place beneath the nose. As the wing returns to flying
posture and zips back to its launch point half a mile away, Parfitt
walks over to the package, opens it up, and extracts some treats for his

The Australian test flight and 30 others like it conducted in
mid-August are the culmination of the first phase of Project Wing, a
secret drone program that’s been running for two years at Google X, the
company’s whoa-inducing, long-range research lab.

Though a couple of rumors have escaped the Googleplex—because of course
Google must have a drone-delivery program—Project Wing’s official
existence and substance were revealed today. I’ve spent the past week
talking to Googlers who worked on the project, reviewing video of the
flights, and interviewing other people convinced delivery by drone will

Taken with the company’s other robotics investments, Google’s
corporate posture has become even more ambitious. Google doesn’t just
want to organize all the world’s information. Google wants to organize all the world.


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