Google just announced their first delivery drone Project Wing, which would be a major competitor to the Amazon Prime Air. Google has always been a technology company taking the foreground in producing ground-breaking technology and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to many that they are producing their own range of delivery drones. They are making use of a very interesting design and they have been working on their design for the last two years, which is actually a year longer than Amazon has been working on theirs.
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Project Wing is a program initiated by Google x in 2012 to research various options of delivering goods by making use of drones. Google x is a branch of Google where they work on various secret innovative projects that change the world.
The main models in use by Project Wing are vertical takeoff/landing (VTOL) flying wing designs. These planes have a width of 5 feet, a height of 2.5 feet, and 4 propellers.
The vertical takeoff/landing design of Project Wings is one of the coolest things about it. It hovers vertically like a quadcopter when taking off and dropping packages, but it flies just like a plane when it goes long distances. This superb feature allows it to have the accuracy of a quadcopter and the efficiency of a plane all in one. It has some other awesome features like a super long winch for lowering items to the ground.
All in all, it is a superb device for delivery of goods.
Origin of the Project Wing Design
The project was initiated by Nick Roy in 2012 to experiment the viability of drones in delivering packages. The Project Wing design seen by the public is very cool, but it does not originate from Google exactly.
A company called Transition Robotics has been making a similar design called Quadshot, which came out in 2011. The Quadshot is a flying wing with four propellers. It is a device similar to Google’s Project Wing but smaller and not as clean and as complex looking.
The company Transition Robotics has stopped making the Quadshot, but it’s very good and it is most likely where Google got the idea for its Project Wing.
Amazon Prime Air vs. Project Wing
Google clearly has the advantage in this drone battle. Their recent endeavors put them in the driving seat. They have been working on self-driving cars for a while now. They even have a whole division dedicated to robotics.
Project Wing hasn’t been tested for real-life scenarios and probably isn’t ready for such, but at least it works. In the video demonstration, it can be seen that the drone works autonomously. But the drone in the Amazon video was just an octocopter being flown manually.
Google Project Wing feels more like a real development of something that can work some years from now while the Amazon Prime Air looks like a publicity stunt. But it is hard to say as the future is unpredictable and things could rapidly change. Amazon could really have a better device than that demonstrated and may want to keep it secret for the time being.