Google subsidiary Wing’s drone delivery operations in Gungahlin have been approved for another six months and extended to the suburb of Harrison, after a review that included a noise assessment.
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development said that Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had approved demonstration and delivery flights from Wing’s Mitchell base to Crace, Palmerston, Franklin and Harrison from 1 August 2019 to 31 January 2020.
Wing’s Early Flyer Program (first 30 days) has also been approved for Harrison.
Conditions were placed on Wing’s operations as a result of the noise assessment under aircraft noise rules, which had not previously occurred and had been a point of contention from anti-drone residents.
Wing can’t fly on public holidays and can only operate an average of 40 flights per day per suburb, and only fly in daylight on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:30 am to 7 pm, Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm.
CASA said the drone produced 69 decibels at 15 metres, the average distance for those in the community having a neighbour receiving a delivery, with the delivery process being completed within 45 seconds.
It was acknowledged that the drone had a particular pitch that would be different to other sounds experienced within a suburban environment.
Wing must also collate all community feedback during the next six months and provide this to the department.
Wing’s drone trials and operations have been controversial in the ACT, sparking speeches in Parliament, petitions to the Legislative Assembly and an Assembly committee inquiry.
The extension comes as Wing announces it intends to establish permanent operations in Logan City, south of Brisbane.
Wing will lodge a development application with Logan City Council for modifications to its delivery facility in Berrinba and over the coming weeks will also be seeking approvals from CASA and the department to begin operations in Logan later this year.