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Millions of Drone Deliveries Are Headed Your Way, Wing Says

The Alphabet-owned company's "delivery network" will begin to take shape in the next 12 months.

Alphabet Wing drone Walgreens delivery
Alphabet Wing drones make aerial deliveries from Walgreens in the Dallas-Forth Worth metro area.
Wing

Wing, the Alphabet-owned drone delivery company, will start expanding its drone delivery system beyond its original test cities starting this year.

The Wing Delivery Network will be "a decentralized, automated system that can support high-volume drone delivery across a major metro area or a more sparsely populated region," Wing CEO Adam Woodworth wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

The network will be made of drones; pads where they take off, land and recharge; and auto loaders, which will allow packages to be preloaded for pickup by a drone.

Wing is one of the companies trying to work on last-mile delivery: a package's movement from its second-to-last stop to its final destination. Wing has piloted its automated delivery system in several cities around the world, including Canberra, Australia; Helsinki, Finland; Christiansburg, Virginia; and the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas.

Delivery drones are in use around the globe dropping off pizzas, Amazon packages and even medical supplies. Drone delivery company Zipline has been delivering medical supplies in Rwanda (and to a lesser extent, Ghana and Nigeria) for years and at the end of 2022, was contracted for an additional 2 million deliveries through 2029. Zipline will also start delivering medicine in Tacoma, Washington, in 2024. 

Over the Christmas period, Amazon delivered packages up to 5 pounds in College Station, Texas, and Lockeford, California. Around the same time, it announced a quieter drone capable of flying in the rain. Walmart says it made 6,000 drone deliveries in seven states in 2022. Delivery companies like DoorDash are getting into the game, too. DoorDash partnered with Wing to deliver goods in Australia in this past year.

Wing says that by mid-2024 it expects its system to be "capable of handling millions of deliveries for millions of consumers."