April 9, 2019 / 10:55 AM / 2 months ago

Alphabet's drone delivery service takes off in Australia

FILE PHOTO: Wing CEO James Ryan Burgess speaks during a news conference at the Slush 2018 start-up and technology event, where start-ups and tech talent meet with top-tier international investors, in Helsinki, Finland, December 4, 2018. Lehtikuva/Heikki Saukkomaa via REUTERS.

(Reuters) - Google parent Alphabet Inc’s drone service made its first air delivery in North Canberra, Australia, on Tuesday after getting approval from the country’s civil aviation authority.

Wing, the company’s drone delivery arm, said the delivery service will be available to a limited set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Crace, Palmerston and Franklin and would gradually expand to customers in Harrison and Gungahlin.

“Wing has been testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014. Over the past 18 months, Wing has delivered food, small household items and over the counter chemist products more than 3,000 times to Australian homes in Fernleigh Park, Royalla and Bonython communities,” it said in a blog post.

Wing was spun out of Alphabet’s X research division in July last year to become an independent company within Alphabet and is part of the Other Bets division. It is headed by James Ryan Burgess.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said on Tuesday Wing’s “operation meets an acceptable level of safety” and it works within the guidelines for commercial drone operators flying over 2kg.

Wing had said in December it would launch its first European delivery service in Finland in the spring of 2019.

E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc touts “Prime Air”, a future delivery system designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes using drones.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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