How desperate are you for your morning coffee?
Google-owned drone company Wing has been approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to launch its drone delivery service in the nation’s capital, following an 18-month trial that successfully delivered over 3,000 orders.
It boasts an average delivery time of between six and 10 minutes.
“Whether you’re a parent with a sick child at home and have run out of baby paracetamol, a busy professional who forgot to pick up fresh bread during your regular weekly shop, or you simply just want to order your morning flat white without the hassle of having to drive to the cafe, Wing has teamed up with local Canberra businesses to give customers the opportunity to have a range of goods delivered in a handful of minutes,” the company said in a statement.
In what is being called a world-first, residents will be able to receive drone deliveries from local retailers Kickstart Espresso, Pure Gelato, Jasper + Myrtle, Bakers Delight, Guzman Y Gomez, Drummond Golf and Chemist Warehouse.
Initial service will only be offered to eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin, with plans to expand to neighbouring Harrison and Gungahlin in the coming weeks.
Approved flying times for the delivery drones are between 7am and 8pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 8pm on Sunday and public holidays.
The drones are controlled by a pilot that can take control of its movements at any time, however the drones automatically follow flight paths.
After an order is placed, the package is picked up by the drone in the merchant pick up area, where the merchant connect the package to an extendable tether beneath the drone.
The package is then taken to the final destination where it lowers the tether and automatically releases the package.
It then lands automatically on a charging pad, ready for the next order.
Not everyone is happy
While the company testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014, Wing has faced a handful of hurdles in getting its service off the ground.
A Legislative Assembly inquiry into drone delivery systems in the ACT, led by the territory government, heard grievances from locals about noise, privacy and disturbances to animals that had occurred during the trial.
Despite the public concern, the ACT government ultimately conceded it was powerless in stopping Wing and other potential drone delivery services.
“The simple reality is that we have very limited space in which the ACT government has the capacity to move into the regulation of drones,” said ACT Attorney-General, Gordon Ramsay.
“The Australian Government has exclusive power to regulate safety in terms of safety and in terms drone noise.”
CASA explained that Wing had ticked all the boxes.
“They have satisfied us that their operation meets an acceptable level of safety. Wing were required to submit a safety case to CASA as part of their application process which included information about the reliability of the drones,” CASA said in a statement.
“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.”
But when it comes to noise and privacy complaints, CASA said that as a safety regulator this is “not in our remit”, and suggested anyone concerned contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.