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Innovation

Google delivery drones cleared for take-off in Australia

A sister company of Google has been given the green light to launch drone delivery in Australia after years of test flights.

The drone company Wing, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, was given permission this week to deliver takeaway food and drinks and over-the-counter medicines by drone to about 100 homes in Canberra.

Wing, which has been trialing deliveries for the last 18 months, began testing its drones in Australia in 2014, but faced initial opposition from residents who complained about the noise.

Although the drones were below legal noise limits, Wing developed a new, quieter model and said the feedback obtained during its trials had been “valuable” and it hoped to “continue the dialogue”.

“We will continue to engage with the local community and stakeholders as we expand our service and are hosting community information stalls and delivery demonstrations in the serviceable areas over the next few weeks,” the company said in a statement.

According to Wing, the delivery service will initially be available to a limited set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin.

“We expect to gradually expand to more customers in Harrison and Gungahlin in the coming weeks and months.”

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority gave Wing permission to launch a commercial service after examining its safety record and operational plans.

The drones will only be allowed to fly 11-12 hours a day and must be piloted, rather than fully automated.

Wing’s initial launch partners include Kickstart Espresso, Capital Chemist, Pure Gelato, Jasper + Myrtle, Bakers Delight, Guzman Y Gomez and Drummond Golf.

“We’re excited to connect with more local businesses in the Gungahlin area about how we can help them reach more customers faster, safer and more sustainably and encourage any local merchants who are interested in learning more to get in touch with us.”

Wing had said that drone deliveries reduce traffic and pollution and can deliver goods in six to 10 minutes.

This story first appeared on sister site Inside Retail.

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