4 October 2018

Drone delivery service looking for permanent home in the ACT despite noise complaints

| Lachlan Roberts
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Drone deliveries may become a fixture across the Canberra skyline. Photo supplied by Project Wing.

Deliveries by drones are set to become a fixture across the Canberra skyline after successful trials earlier this year despite community concerns about the “noisy, intrusive, unnecessary drones”.

Project Wing, who runs trials out of Bonython in Canberra’s south delivering small products to Tuggeranong’s smaller suburban yards, is now looking to set up a permanent location in the ACT.

The service has a couple of months left in their trial site in Bonython before their lease expires but the company will start to look for a new home in the coming months.

Project Wing chief Ryan Burgess spoke to 2CC and said the drone delivery service is still exploring all their options.

“We have received a lot of feedback from the community about what would be most acceptable and we think targetting commercial and industrial areas for a future site makes a lot of sense,” he said.

“We are still exploring options but there will likely be a shift at some point.”

The company has received a variety of feedback from the trial, which included complaints the noise and perception of the aircraft disturbing the quiet suburb in the south of Canberra. He said the company took the feedback to heart and was currently looking at ways to address the issue and improve the system to make it more appealing to the community.

“We have also seen a lot more adoption than we expected. A lot of families are using the system in various situations or scenarios that we didn’t anticipate,” Mr Burgess said.

“We really like the positive support and the creativeness that people are finding in this system.”

Wing has faced growing opposition to its trial in Bonython, with residents forming a Facebook group to express their concerns about the noise and lack of privacy from the drones.

The group, Bonython Against Drones, states it is a “group of concerned residents united against noisy, intrusive, unnecessary drones in Bonython” and spokesman Nev Sheather told 2CC residents were disturbed by the noise and said it was ruining their quality of life.

“The drones are unbelievably noisy and they have a really, really loud, high-pitched whining sound. Somebody said it sounds like an F1 racing car,” Mr Sheather said.

“On Sunday, there were 35 drones flying over my house during the day and this is only a trial so they only have a limited number of flights. So if they go commercial, that number will go up and up.”

Mr Sheather said residents can hear the drones from up to a kilometre away and believes the use of delivering small items is not an essential service. He was happy his suburb would not be used as system’s permanent home but said it would only shift the issues to other parts of the nation’s capital.

Do you like the idea of drone deliveries becoming a fixture in Canberra? If you live in Tuggeranong what are your concerns? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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An excellent idea for emergency/essential/rural services, but a noisy nuisance in a suburban setting, particularly when used quite unnecessarily for things like pizza delivery.

Sandra Marie Fisk9:50 am 06 Nov 18

We back onto the nature reserve/Murrumbidgee Corridor – The drones have been trialing up and down for a few months, the noise was like trail bikes zooming up and down. I walk down and had a chat with the guys flying these drones and they shifted them to over the river during the practice flights. Now they are delivering they fly directly over my house, into the suburb. I have a medical condition and a service dog, the noise of the drones consistently flying over my house means I don’t get the rest I need, and I get stressed which then makes my service dog react to my anxiety. This is not fair on her as she needs down time and it means my weekends which I used to rest doesn’t happen now and has an big impact on my health.

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