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Tech giant Alphabet launches drone delivery service in Australia

Key Points
  • Wing, an initiative of Google's parent company Alphabet, has been undertaking tests for drone delivery in Australia since 2014. 
  • The service will enable users to order items including fresh food and coffee using a mobile app.
This image shows a Wing delivery drone flying during a demonstration at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018.
Charles Mostoller | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Wing, an initiative of Google's parent company Alphabet, has launched a drone based commercial delivery service in Australia's capital city, Canberra.

In a blog post Tuesday, Wing said that the service would enable users to order items including fresh food, coffee, and over-the-counter chemist items using a mobile app. Once an order is placed, a drone will be able to make deliveries "in minutes." To begin with, the service will be available to a limited number of eligible homes in three suburbs: Crace, Palmerston and Franklin.

Testing for drone delivery in Australia has been taking place since 2014, Wing said. The last 18 months have seen it deliver goods over 3,000 times to Australian homes, it added.

In a statement Tuesday, Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said that Wing had "satisfied us that their operation meets an acceptable level of safety."

Wing, it explained, had been required to submit a safety case as part of their application, which included information relating to the reliability of its drones.

"Following an assessment of the safety case, we have permitted Wing to operate over North Canberra and in closer proximity to a person, than our regulations would normally permit," CASA added.

The system used by Wing is automated, according to CASA, although "a licensed pilot is always at the helm."

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