[QODLink]
Americas

Google plans drone fleet to deliver packages

US company says it wants to create sophisticated airborne drones to deliver packages more quickly to customers.

Last updated: 29 Aug 2014 01:33
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Google says its courier drones will be nothing like hobby model aircraft [Google/Project Wing]

Google is building a fleet of drone aircraft that can bypass earthbound traffic so packages can be delivered to people more quickly in the United States.

"Project Wing," announced on Thursday, escalates Google's technological arms race with rival Amazon, which is also experimenting with self-flying vehicles to carry items bought by customers of its online store.

These planes have much more in common with the Google self-driving car than remote-controlled airplanes people fly in parks.

Google statement

The company expects it to take several more years before its fleet is fully operational, but has already carried out test flights, the AP news agency reported.

"These planes have much more in common with the Google self-driving car than the remote-controlled airplanes people fly in parks on weekends," Google said on its website, in reference to its project to create autonomous cars.

"Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving goods, including options that are cheaper, faster, less wasteful and more environmentally sensitive than what's possible today."

Such projects are subject to US law. Amazon last month applied to federal authorities to expand its own drone tests.

The Federal Aviation Administration currently allows hobbyists and model aircraft makers to fly drones, while commercial use is mostly banned.

Project Wing is the latest venture to emerge from Google's X lab, which has also been working on self-driving cars.

The lab's other projects include internet-connected eyewear called Google Glass, internet-beaming balloons called Project Loon and a contact lens that monitors glucose levels in diabetics.

The Glass device has faced criticism from privacy advocates about its ability to secretly record video and take pictures.

Google, whose motto was once "don't be evil" has in the past been found monitoring information sent via private wifi networks while collecting data for its maps project.

306

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.