Drone Delivery Systems Start Trials

Walgreens and Google are testing drone delivery services that may be able to put drugstore orders in front of people’s doors as little as an hour after they make them. The trial run of the system is scheduled to start operating next month in Christiansburg, VA. The items that the service covers is quite extensive, with buyers able to order any of one hundred distinct products that are small enough to be carried by the agile drones.

How Delivery Will Work

The drones, each of which is capable o making a 12-mile round trip, will fly out to the delivery site. Once it gets to the specified location, it will hover and utilize a winch system to lower the package safely to the ground before flying off. The drone system is operated by Wing Aviation LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. These 10-pound drones will be able to carry up to three pounds of weight, making it ideal for the delivery of pharmaceutical products.

Drone delivery is still under testing within the US. Wing Aviation got its certification for commercial drone delivery earlier this year – the first time a company had obtained certification to do so in the US. However, they are not the only company looking into utilizing drones for delivery services. Earlier this year, Amazon also mentioned that they intend to look into the feasibility of drone delivery for smaller items. Additionally, UPS also announced that they would be setting up a department to deal with drone deliveries which are currently only used for delivering pharmaceuticals in Raleigh, NC.

No Firm Date for Widespread Adoption

Even though the testing of drone deliveries has commenced, consumers may have to wait a while before they can benefit from the new technology. Neither Walgreens nor Wing was able to offer a reliable estimate on the amount of time the testing would take. Walgreens may be ahead of the curve by partnering with drone delivery services, since their biggest competitor, CVS, still hasn’t looked into a partnership deal with a drone service. The convenience and reduced time for deliveries will be a benefit for customers when the system comes online entirely.