Breaking News – Project Wing now delivers burritos by drone in Australia

In the hope of making drone deliveries even more accurate, Project Wing has started making deliveries directly to people’s houses in southeastern Australia.The firm announced that it will deliver food from Mexican food chain, Guzman y Gomez, and medicines from Chemist Warehouse pharmacies to customers in rural areas on the border of the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales.Project Wing, which is run by Google parent Alphabet, hopes the trials will help to fine-tune how its drones move goods from where they’re located to where they’re needed.Project Wing’s aircraft has a wingspan of approximately 1.5m (4.9ft) and have four electrically-driven propellers. The total weight, including the package to be delivered, is approximately 10kg (22lb). The aircraft itself accounts for the bulk of that at 8.5kg (18.7lb). The hybrid ‘tail sitter’ design has wings for fast forward flight, and rotors for hovering for delivery and vertical take-off and landing. Dual mode operation gives the self-flying vehicle some of the benefits of both planes and helicopters. It can take off or land without a runway, and can hold its position hovering in one spot to gently drop packages. Packages are stored in the drone’s ‘belly’ then dropped on a string before being gently lowered to the ground. At the end of the tether, there’s a little bundle of electronics the team call the ‘egg,’ which detects that the package has hit the ground, detaches from the delivery, and is pulled back up into the body of the vehicle.Project Wing first started testing burrito-deliveries in Virginia last year, and has now moved its testing site to southeastern Australia.In a blog announcing the update, James Ryan Burgess, co-lead of Project Wing, said: ‘Last year at Virginia Tech, our first deliveries with members of the public were in an open field, not to a specific address or location.’Now, with each delivery, we encounter a new yard space with its own layout of trees, sheds, fences, and power lines.’That means that in addition to learning what people want delivered, we also have to learn how to best deliver items to people.’The drones can now deliver products almost anywhere, whether it’s backyards, public parks, or farmlands.But Project Wing says that the main issue is reliably identifying safe and convenient delivery locations.Mr Burgess said: ‘We have to incorporate customer preferences — e.g. many of our testers would like packages delivered to backyards so they’re not visible from the road, or near kitchens so food items can be unpacked quickly.’And we have to be ready to accommodate changing conditions at the delivery location.’While our unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform lets us pre-plan a flight route, the sensors on our aircraft are responsible for identifying obstacles that might appear during a flight or delivery, like a car parked in an unexpected spot, or outdoor furniture that’s been moved.’The more test deliveries we do, exposing the sensors on our aircraft to new delivery locations, the smarter our aircraft’s algorithms will one day become at picking a safe spot for deliveries.’By partnering with Guzman y Gomez and Chemist Warehouse, Project Wing hopes that it will learn the easiest way to channel orders and deliver goods.Mr Burgess said: ‘In the case of Guzman y Gomez, who is our first delivery partner for this trial, we’ll need to make sure our technology fits in smoothly into their kitchen operations, as their staff have to juggle many orders at onc1

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