Google scores first FAA approval for drone delivery service


For the past few years, everyone has been buzzing about Amazon delivering packages via drones. However, it will be another company taking to the skies first after an Alphabet (Google) child company secured the first approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for commercial drone delivery.

Operating under the name Wing, the company is slated to begin deliveries in Virginia within months.

FAA Grants Thorough Approval

This approval comes after the company fulfilled a laundry list of safety requirements on par with what traditional airlines must meet. Obtaining the permission was a necessary step for Wing since it wants to automate drone deliveries. Under current FAA regulations, drones cannot fly outside of an operator’s line of vision.

However, the new approval technically makes Wing an airline. Their status will allow the company to accept payments for their delivery service while automating drone flight. Before getting approved, Wing had to create safety manuals and training processes just like actual airlines.

The process of gaining approval took several months and countless hours of work. However, it will likely pave the way for quicker approval by competing drone delivery companies in the future. At the top of the list is Amazon’s delivery service. Despite a public demonstration back in 2017, the service is yet to launch.

Drone Delivery, Coming Soon

Currently, Wing plans to begin delivery to rural areas of Virginia within the coming months. It will begin by delivering products from local businesses to residents in the Blacksburg and Christiansburg communities. Pending success there, the company can seek FAA approval for expansion into other areas.

Meanwhile, Wing also gained approval from CASA, an Australian regulation agency to make deliveries in Canberra. This location includes around 100 homes. The test also included successfully deliveries of 3000 packages.

Consumers should be excited about the introduction of drone delivery as it brings many benefits besides the packages. For one, it can speed up delivery time and allow customers to accurately schedule when their package will arrive. This can help reduce package theft for consumers often away from home. Meanwhile, drones help conserve energy compared to the logistics of traditional package delivery.

As Wing begins delivering packages via drone, consumers should take note. This trial is likely what will spark widespread drone delivery by large companies like Amazon and Wal-Mart as well as small local businesses. The FAA will likely be approving many more companies in the future thanks to the trailblazing of Alphabet which means customers can expect to see drones delivering their packages within a few years.