Google’s delivery-drone project has well and truly gotten off the ground (again), evidenced by a short video of its latest flying machine dropping off a small package (Sergey Brin’s lunch, perhaps?) at a Google event in Arizona on Monday.
Attendee Aaref Hilaly, a partner with Sequoia Capital, tweeted the video (below) together with the message: “Watching baby steps of drone delivery, courtesy of Google X.” Hilaly added that the Mountain View company’s new drone should be able to hit speeds of up to 60 mph. A short while later, Google’s new CEO, Sundar Pichai, retweeted Hilaly’s message.
— Aaref Hilaly (@aaref) October 19, 2015
Google’s first attempt at developing a drone, which it wants to build for carrying vital supplies in areas hit by disasters, was abandoned earlier this year when around 80 percent of the development team concluded the project had hit a wall.
According to Monday’s video, the latest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to fly out of the Project Wing workshop appears to have some similarities to the original design in that it incorporates both wings and propellers. Also, as with the team’s first effort, the UAV delivers its payload via a winch and tether, with the machine’s propellers enabling it to hover steadily above the delivery spot. Such a mechanism certainly makes sense if the drone is going to be used in disaster zones, as the environment may be too disturbed or unstable to successfully land and relaunch the vehicle.
Comparing the drone shown in the new video with footage of the original Project Wing machine, it seems that the new design is a lot more agile and lighter than its bulky predecessor.
Google X chief Astro Teller has already said we can expect an update before the end of the year on how Project Wing is progressing, and with the company’s CEO now confirming the team has a working model in the sky, hopefully the lowdown on its latest effort will land sooner rather than later.