By Jonathan Davies
Google has tested drones it believes could be used for deliveries.
Although the project could revolutionise the way we receive deliveries, Google said that long-term goal is to use the drones for delivering aid to isolated areas.
The general idea is that the drones can reach their destinations much faster by avoiding car traffic. It was initially developed as a way of delivering defibrillators to people suspected of having heart attacks faster that any ambulance ever could.
"Even just a few of these, being able to shuttle nearly continuously could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation," explained Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots - Google X's name for big-thinking projects.
Project Wing has been in development for two years, and has been a secret until now. The drones have been developed at Google X, its tech headquarters where the driverless car was developed.
"When you have a tool like this you can really allow the operators of those emergency services to add an entirely new dimension to the set of tools and solutions that they can think of," said Dave Voss, incoming leader of Project Wing.
Google tested Project Wing drones in Queensland Australia, due to tighter restrictions in the US. The prototypes successfully delivered small packages to farms in remote parts of the country.
Project Wing drones have four electric propellers fitted to wings with a span of around 1.5m (4.9ft). It weighs around 8.5kg.
It differs greatly in appearance to Amazon's Prime Air delivery drone. Google's Project Wing looks very similar to the type of unmanned drone you see used by the military. Amazon's drone on the other hand features horizontal rotary blades, similar to the types you might be able to find in a remote control toy shop (not that its similar in quality).
Google said Project Wing is able to take off from a runway and hover in one position. The 'duel mode' gives it characteristics of both an airplane and a helicopter which allows it to move with maximum speed and agility.
"The things we would do there are not unlike what is traditionally done in aerospace," said Mr Voss.
"It will be clear for us what level of redundancy we need in the controls and sensors, the computers that are onboard, and the motors, and how they are able to fail gracefully such that you don't have catastrophic problems occurring."
Would you like your parcels delivered via drone? Would your business use them to make deliveries? You can email your reactions to email@example.com
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