Tuggeranong residents will be able to have burritos, vitamins and skincare products delivered to their homes by drone under a trial project which starts this weekend.
Fresh from their success in delivering by drone to big blocks in semi-rural Royalla and Fernleigh Park over the last six months, Project Wing will start trialling drone deliveries of Guzman y Gomez and Chemist Warehouse products to Tuggeranong’s smaller suburban yards starting in coming days with Bonython.
The trial represents the first time anywhere that Project Wing (an initiative of research factory ‘X’) will test drone deliveries in suburban backyards and if successful sets the scene for a potentially revolutionary change in home delivery services.
A spokesperson for Project Wing said the trial will begin in Bonython and then be rolled out to Tuggeranong in phases.
“Our new site in Tuggeranong will allow us to fly longer distances and deliver to thousands of households, rather than dozens of households – as was the case with our previous test sites,” the spokesperson said.
“By serving more homes, we’ll refine how we manage a fleet of several delivery drones that need to be loaded up, efficiently routed through the air, and returned safely to our site — helping us to build the muscles we’ll need to one day run a drone delivery service.
“We’re also curious to learn how drone delivery could be useful to suburban households and how this differs from our rural testers.”
The spokesperson said that Project Wing is moving its trial to more densely-populated areas because it wants to make it easier for people to access needed goods more quickly no matter where they are.
It will mean refining the ability of their drones to navigate obstacles like trees and powerlines in confined spaces, as well as selecting safe and convenient delivery points in yards that are 10 metres wide instead of 100 metres wide.
The trial will initially be open to a limited number of Tuggeranong residents, beginning with Bonython households.
Project Wing will be hosting a barbecue for Bonython residents tomorrow (February 24) at Pine Island Reserve to provide them with more details about the testing and give them the opportunity to meet the Project Wing team.
How it works
Residents involved in the trial will be able to use Project Wing’s delivery app to order a range of burritos, burrito bowls and sides from Guzman y Gomez and almost 100 products across several categories from Chemist Warehouse. These include medicines, sun care, dental, haircare, skincare, cosmetics, vitamins and personal care products.
There is no cost for the actual delivery service for those involved in the trial and the drones can carry packages weighing up to 1.5 kilograms. During the trial, the delivery drones will be flying a maximum of 14 kilometres in a round trip.
Testers select from a small number of pre-selected locations in their yard for the products to be delivered to. They don’t interact directly with the drone but need to remain at least 15 metres away while the drone hovers over the spot and lowers the package to the ground on a line using a winch. Once on the ground, the package disconnects from the line and the tester can retrieve the package as the drone flies away.
Trial is good news for burrito fans
Guzman y Gomez were an enthusiastic part of the Royalla trial and the company’s founder and global CEO of Guzman y Gomez, Steven Marks said they are excited to partner with Project Wing as they move their testing to suburban Tuggeranong.
“If the number of queries we receive on a daily basis is anything to go by, Guzman y Gomez fans can’t wait to have burritos delivered by drone in this next phase of Wing’s testing,” Mr Marks said
“To work with the Wing team on such game-changing, world-first innovation, will remain one of GYG’s proudest moments.
“I have said it before, but Wing and X are some of my favourite companies in the world and they are truly changing delivery as we know it.”
Drone deliveries claimed to have lower carbon footprint
Project Wing has been working on the development of a drone delivery system since 2012 and completed several hundred drone deliveries to dozens of homes during the trial at Royalla and Fernleigh Park.
The idea of drone deliveries sometimes draws criticism from people concerned about congestion in the skies or those worried about a reduction in delivery jobs.
However, Project Wing said the drone delivery system has a lower carbon footprint than other methods of delivery.
“Delivery drones will not only decongest our roadways, but also our atmosphere,” the Project Wing spokesperson said.
“Research conducted by RSG and Professor Goodchild from University of Washington suggests that Project Wing’s delivery drones generate 22 times fewer carbon emissions than a delivery vehicle over an average delivery trip in Canberra, as a result of their very energy efficient, all-electric design.”
Do you like the idea of drone deliveries? If you live in Tuggeranong are you keen to be part of the trial? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.