For some years now it was known that Google was working on self-driving cars, and for a while now, no one really knew what the team was working on next. However, recently Google did reveal to the world their next ambitious and interesting project: Wing. It is all about a self-driving flying vehicle which will be able to perform deliveries on its own. Similar to the Amazon drone delivery system in its testing phase.
Even though the idea is relatively closely tied with delivery, the main idea behind Google’s drones is focused on disaster relief. Delivering supplies and medication to areas where needed most without jeopardizing anymore lives in the process.
The vehicle itself is small and light, which means that their carrying capacity is rather restricted as well. It is a self-driven drone, which means that they can take off and land without any help, and they also do not need any runways.
The vehicle has four electric propellers which will help with steering and staying airborne. The main processing unit is located near the tail, and this is where all the instructions come from; but the main power is distributed in the front part of the drone.
Google is also considering implementing human interaction with the drone, when engineers have to help the drone so that the drone itself, or the package does not get stuck somewhere. Google is hoping to improve the AI by doing so, similarly as in with their automated software in development for the self-driving cars.
Because the team was afraid that when it is time to leave the package, the clients would get hurt because of the small propellers, the engineers came up with a simple yet effective method of lowering the package via a string line from the drone itself and safely getting to the desired location.
What is in it for Google?
The project team’s Chief Executive Larry Page and the company hope that the so called “moonshot” projects will create new economic growth opportunities. And Project Wing is on a good road to create and cultivate such opportunities when it is about moving good around more efficiently and safely.
Furthermore, with Amazon developing a similar technology, it is only a question of who will dominate the sky and who will deliver better. But, it looks like the drone war is only just beginning.
On a more serious note, where even military leaders are concerned, and with good reason too, to what extent will self-driving drones impact security measures as well as legal rights concerning secured airspaces.
It is feared that these autonomous drones can be used for very serious terrorist activities without ever being noticed. Even if the technology develops, it will still be a matter of legal and practical headwinds. When will the drones see the daylight of functionality and practicality is still a question left for the future.
But even if we do not consider only the most useful of a number of usage scenarios – drones can be really handy to have around. Imagine ordering a cold lemonade on a hot day and having it instantly delivered to your doorstep. Or a pre-ordered laptop landing into your backyard as soon as it becomes available. Yes, it would certainly spoil us some more, but we like to be spoiled. We asked our friends from Shopping Express, an online computer shop, for their opinion on this delivery method and they were more than enthusiastic – they pointed out that this would eliminate many troublesome aspects of the delivery process and make things easier for both buyers and sellers.
And for now it seems that the drone system is far from becoming a reality, but as Astro Teller, Google X’s team leader announced that developing these drones will help with helping people in dire need. The true aim for this project is to develop autonomous drones fit for disaster relief.
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