“Reinventing last-mile transport” Project Wing of Google X update presented at London UAV show
The social virtue of the use case selected may be questionable, but on the back of it the team are qualifying a solution that in many aspects seems remarkable.
The project Wing team has been tested since July 2017 near Canberra, Australia. Use case is about delivery in suburban areas where the catching area for a merchant is within a 2-3 km radius and that can be expanded to a 10km radius using drone delivery.
This use case is on-demand flight, beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), over people, from a defined point A to multiple points B. The flights are approximately 10km covered at high speed within 5 minutes.
The platform is a VTOL, that is a hybrid of a fixed wing plane and multirotor, with as much as 14 rotors for redundancy and safety but also so that it can hover around 5-10 metres from the ground over the client’s pre-determined location and gently lower its cargo to the ground.
The solution is fully-automated, with minimal human intervention beside the merchant placing its product in the box. That includes a home-made UTM solution to determine the flight path and manage space sharing. The UTM solution could become a product in itself.