An interesting side effect of this coronavirus pandemic is that it exposed a number of inefficiencies all over the world. Because of the outbreak, cities all over the globe shifted their emphasis on social distancing and avoidance of unnecessary contact. For a lot of jobs, that became a complicated roadblock. Here is where Alphabet and the Wing project comes in.
Many jobs require social contact – at times, this cannot be avoided. Take deliveries for instance. Without the constant availability and manpower of workers, the delivery system was taken to a halt. The delivery process required drivers to transport goods between locations, and delivery workers going door to door.
In Australia, life goes on with Google’s company Alphabet. With Alphabet’s Wing delivery service, they solved this issue with the use of drones. This drone delivery idea has been brewing for some time now. In fact, this time last year, the Alphabet Wing was still in its early testing phases.
This coronavirus outbreak created an excellent testing ground for an alternative to traditional delivery methods. With the help of drones, delivering items door to door eliminates any risk of spreading disease. Without direct human contact, the chance of getting into contact with an infected person is reduced to zero. Your packages still find their way to you – and without any of the biohazard risks.
A Successful Outing
As of May 2020, Alphabet’s Wing has delivered thousands over the past couple of months in quarantine. The numbers rose to 500% as businesses shut down and social distancing became the norm. While dining inside restaurants was a no-go, ordering takeout food was still possible. Those wanting a taste of life before the pandemic can easily do so by ordering online.
People all over Australia used drone delivery to receive everyday needs, such as groceries and food. All they have to do is order through apps on their phone. Wing’s drones pick up the order, and fly over to their destinations. With simple tethers, the drones will drop the package safely at the recipient’s yard or doorstep. There is no hassle, and definitely no risk for any health concerns. Best of all, delivery of takeout food from local areas often come with a quick delivery time. The Wing’s fastest delivery record is just a little under three minutes after ordering.
Alphabet Project Limitations
While the idea of drone delivery sounds amazing as a permanent feature, it still has limitations. Alphabet’s Wing drones for instance have a carrying capacity of 1.5 kilograms. For that amount, it is perfectly reasonable to order takeout food for the night. However, larger deliveries may require methods that are more traditional. Heavier items that cannot be carried by these drones have to be completed by normal delivery workers.
Flying through the air can also provide issues for your package, such as damage or even something minor like spillage. Food for instance would require sturdy containers to prevent issues during the trip. Temperature is also a concern when it comes to delivering food. Nobody wants their food delivered cold. While the delivery time is impressive, temperature control may also be another factor to consider.
Google has bounced around ideas for drone use in the past. One of their more ambitious projects involves a massive drone that beams internet connections to nearby areas. While this particularly massive endeavor has faced many roadblocks through the years, smaller projects such as drone delivery by Alphabet are seeing more action. Smaller, more affordable drones with less maintenance costs may just be in it for the long haul. As long as people crave convenience, drones will have a job delivering goods door to door.
As the world opens its doors once again, would drone delivery take a backseat to traditional methods? Or will it stay on top, as the new form of delivery that will revolutionize how online purchasing is concluded?