Wing Aviation, the drone-based delivery startup born out of X labs, has the first FAA certification in the country for commercial carriage of goods. It might not be long before you’re getting your burritos sent par avion. The company has been performing tests for years, making thousands of flights and supervised deliveries to show that its drones are safe and effective. Many of those flights were in Australia, where in suburban Canberra the company recently . Finland and other countries are also in the works.. Wing’s first operations, starting later this year, will be in Blackburg and Christiansburg, VA; obviously an operation like this requires close coordination with municipal authorities as well as federal ones. You can’t just get a permission slip from the FAA and start flying over everyone’s houses. “Wing plans to reach out to the local community before it begins food delivery, to gather feedback to inform its future operations,” the FAA writes in a press release. Here’s hoping that means you can choose whether or not these loud little aircraft will be able to pass through your airspace. Although the obvious application is getting a meal delivered quick even when traffic is bad, there are plenty of other applications. One imagines quick delivery of medications ahead of EMTs, or blood being transferred quickly between medical centers. I’ve asked Wing for more details on its plans to roll this out elsewhere in the U.S., and will update this story if I hear back.
Wing’s drone makes a delivery. (Wing Photo) Alphabet’s has stolen a march on Amazon’s plans for drone domination by winning air carrier certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. “Air Carrier Certification means that we can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States,” celebrating the milestone. Wing was from (formerly known as Google X), and has been taking part in an in Southwest Virginia. The company has also conducted a test program in Australia that involved more than 3,000 drone deliveries to doorsteps, backyards and driveways. In all, Wing’s drones have flown more than 70,000 test flights, and is starting up . Wing said the data submitted to the FAA for certification showed that “a delivery by wing carries a lower risk to pedestrians than the same trip made by car.” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao hailed the certification. “This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our No. 1 priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential,” she said in a statement. Wing said its next step will be to further its participation in the Virginia pilot program. “For the next several months, we’ll be reaching out to businesses and community members in the Blacksburg and Christiansburg areas to demonstrate our technology, answer questions, and solicit feedback with the goal of launching a delivery trial later this year,” the company said. Amazon has been conducting its own drone delivery test flights in locations ranging from Israel and France to . The Seattle-based online retailing giant showed off more than two years ago. Amazon missed out on participating in the FAA’s first wave of drone pilot programs, however. We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment, and will update this item with anything we hear back.