Wing, the Google X moonshot project which graduated to become an independent Alphabet company in July 2018, is all set to soar in Europe. Today, it announced an ambitious plan to deliver goods and packages of up to 1.5 kilograms (approx. 3.3 pounds) in a 10 kilometers radius (6.2 miles) in the spring of 2019 in Helsinki.
Wing is also launching a page to take suggestions on what might be most in demand to deliver by drone.
This will be the company’s first attempt to spread its wings in Europe. It has run four separate trials covering 55,000 journeys in Australia, carrying items such as medicine and coffee, across a range of terrain. Similar to the trial in Australia, the Finnish service will be free until full commercial launch.
In its market-ready form, people can use an app, where they can select products and order their drones.
Wing CEO James Ryan Burgess says Wing wants to fill the gap when it comes to delivering goods in an environmentally- and economically sustainable way. The Alphabet-owned company aims to charge a lower delivery fee to the merchant and the recipient.
Despite flying in the face of several challenges in the U.S., Wing is not shy of attempting to develop the moonshot project into a commercially successful product. Wing inked partnerships with brands like Chipotle and Starbucks to push an air-delivered initiative but ran into several setbacks.
Its partnership with Starbucks was canceled when several disagreements were had over who would own the customer. With Chipotle, it made burrito deliveries to a small number of students and faculty at Virginia Tech, but it failed to culminate into something more.
Alphabet-owned Wing is working in the U.S. to gain Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) approval. The regulatory environment for drones and unmanned vehicles is much tougher than it ought to be.
Finland, on the other hand, is a promising ground for Wing’s delivery drones business.