Google fly high
Google dron is new idea of Google X, the division of Google that works on futuristic and risky projects, has unveiled Project Wing, a fleet of drones designed to bring goods to people.
The tech company has been working on the project for two years and says that, at least for now, the project is aimed at disaster relief.
„Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving things around — including options that are faster, cheaper, less wasteful, and more environmentally sensitive than the way we do things today,“ said a Google spokesperson.
Google has been testing the drones in Queensland, Australia, where regulations on flying drones are more relaxed, and has been doing so by delivering packages to two farmers.
Google has been contemplating creating drones since 2011. In 2012 the company hired roboticist Nick Roy from MIT, who is largely credited for putting the drones together during his two-year contract at Google.
Roy was instrumental in the design of the drone, settling on a hybrid design which incorporates both fixed wings and helicopter elements.
Google is not the only large tech company to be experimenting with drones. Amazon has announced that it is developing drones to deliver packages to customers. But while Amazon is focused more on the consumer, Google right now is focusing more on disaster relief. An early goal of the project when it was started in 2012 was to be able to deliver defibrillators to heart attack victims.
„Even just a few of these, being able to shuttle nearly continuously, could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation,“ said Astro Teller, head of Google X.
While a number of companies are building drones, it’s still unclear as to whether they will ever be able to use them. The Federal Aviation Administration currently does not allow for drone flights because of the potential airspace dangers and the privacy concerns that could be raised.
Both Amazon and Google have acknowledged that a change in policy may take a number of years, although companies such as Google are very influential when it comes to such changes.
„I don’t know that Google is much better positioned than Amazon or anyone else in terms of technology, but the company has a track record of being influential in terms of policy,“ said Ryan Calo, a professor at the University of Washington who studies robotics.
Google X has had a busy few years since it was created. Projects such as Google Glass and Project Loon, which is a weather balloon that delivers wireless Internet to those below it, were both born from Google X, along with the driverless car and contact lenses to held diabetics monitor blood glucose levels.