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Google's Wing delivery drones head to Europe

Alphabet Wing

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Wing

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, will test its drone delivery service in Finland next year, it has announced.

Helsinki will be the first European location for Wing, which has been testing drones in Australia.

Its aircraft will deliver packages weighing up to 1.5kg (3.3lbs) within minutes of an order being placed.

Several companies, including Wing and Amazon, are developing drone delivery services but they have spent years in development without launching.

In December 2013, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos predicted his company’s Prime Air delivery service would launch within five years.

However, its service is still in development.

Wing said its drones had made 55,000 journeys in Australia, delivering items such as medicine, coffee and household goods.

It said it had chosen Finland for its European trial because Finnish people were “renowned for being early-adopters of new technologies”.

It has invited them to share what products they would like to see delivered by drone, with suggestions including breakfast, lunch, painkillers and household essentials.

Customers will be able to place an order using a smartphone app and the drone delivery will be offered free of charge during the trial period.

For drone delivery services to be viable, the technology giants must show that their drones are safe and reliable.

Critics also question whether the public will want noisy drones delivering goods in towns and cities.

But Wing says drone delivery is “safer, faster and more environmentally friendly than ground delivery”.

Wing is part of Alphabet’s Other Bets division, which includes self-driving car project Waymo and internet-delivery-balloon-maker Loon.


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