by Patrick J. Paul

On April 7, 2022, Alphabet’s Wing launched commercial drone delivery service in two suburban towns north of Dallas, Texas – Frisco and Little Elm where Wing had been testing its service over the last year following experiments in Christiansburg, Virginia; Helsinki, Finland; and Canberra and Logan, Australia.

Like Waymo, which is currently testing its autonomous vehicle fleet in select markets including Phoenix, Wing is focused on achieving testing milestones before moving to wide-scale deployment.

Under the Texas program, Wing has partnered with Walgreens, Blue Bell Creameries, Easyvet, and Texas Health for the initial rollout which includes no signup or delivery fees, though customers must download an app to participate.

Walgreens will deliver more than 100 health and wellness items to select customers who live within about 4 miles of one designated store. Although over-the-counter medicines can be delivered, prescription medicines are not part of this program.  However, pet meds from Easyvet can be drone-delivered. 

Walgreens team members will process their own orders and load packages onto drones themselves by attaching delivery items to lines dropped by hovering drones – while Wing will oversee the delivery remotely.  On the receiving end, packages will be dropped by line to the customer and automatically unhook from the package for the return trip.

Blue Bell similarly will deliver ice cream to homes within about 4 miles of its facility.  However, this service will only be available on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Moving at speeds up to 65 mph, Wing’s drones have a cargo limit of 3.3 pounds.  Pick-up to delivery runs under 10 minutes.  The Wing drones are approximately four feet long with a wingspan of three feet, weight of 10 pounds, and range of 12 miles per round trip.