Alphabet's Wing Unveils XXL and XXS Drones for More Delivery Options
Tiny drones are good for delivering prescription drugs, and larger ones are designed for packages up to 7 pounds.
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Wing, the drone delivery division of Google's parent company Alphabet, on Thursday unveiled a "library" of different aircraft designs tailored for larger and smaller loads than its original Hummingbird model.
Hummingbird models can carry bags weighing up to about 2.5 pounds and have made hundreds of thousands of deliveries so far. A beefier sibling, though, gets a bulbous body and more propellers for lift, for payloads more than twice that heavy. Another tiny drone is tailored for tiny packages of prescription drugs.
All the aircraft, though, have the same basic design: some propellers to lift vertically, others to propel the aircraft forward, and fixed wings to increase lift and efficiency while in flight. Wing is working on a modular approach for its library, recycling ideas and components that have been proven in its tests, said Adam Woodworth, who was promoted to Wing chief executive from chief technology officer in February.
Using these tested sets of flight control systems, propulsion hardware and materials lets Wing rapidly develop new variations "and tailor them to a broad range of uses from delivery of food, medicine and other goods, to supply chain optimization and emergency response," Woodworth said.