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Apr 16, 2020 | News

Wing drones deliver toilet paper and other essentials during COVID-19 pandemic

A year ago, Google’s Wing became the first company to receive approval for drone delivery in the U.S. Now the service is being used in its Virginia-based test market to get toilet paper, toothpaste, and other essentials to residents currently under quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic. Requests have increased significantly in the past few weeks.

“We’ve made more than 1,000 deliveries in the last two weeks across all our communities,” Wing CEO James Ryan Burgess told Dezeen. “While we recognize that this service will be a small relief during this time, we hope it means one less trip to the store for items our customers may need, and provides an efficient way for local businesses to reach their customers in a time when limiting human-to-human contact is important.”

Residents of Virginia have been placed on a stay-at-home order by the governor until June 10th, at least. Wing’s drone delivery service has become essential due to the fact that it eliminates the need for contact with other people, thus preventing risk of exposure to the deadly airborne virus. Each aircraft is capable of carrying items weighing close to 3 pounds and can travel up to 12 miles, round trip.

Using the Wing app, customers can place orders through FedEx, Walgreens, along with local businesses including Mockingbird Cafe and Burgh Coffee. Wing is also celebrating one year of successful deliveries in Canberra, Australia. “We’ve been developing our drone delivery technology since 2012, and in the last year we’ve seen the amazing ways people are accessing goods they need through the air, when they need them,” states the company in a recent post on their official Medium account.

Some interesting statistics Wing has publicly shared about their operations in Canberra over the past 12 months include:

  • Customers have ordered over 2,000 coffees
  • Delivery drones have flown over 12,800 miles
  • 1,500 hours have been saved that would have been spent traveling to stores
  • 15 local businesses have been supported
  • Residents have visited Wing employees at 32 community stalls to share feedback and ask questions

Drones delivery is a useful service in this historic time of social distancing. They’re also being used to gauge temperatures, and even coughs, in people by simply flying near them. Police and public safety agencies are also using drones to remind people to stay at home.