Tech Industry

​Google's drone reportedly won't deliver your Starbucks coffee

Project Wing, now an Alphabet X effort, suffers a hiring freeze and budget cut, too, Bloomberg reports.

Alphabet wants Project Wing to enable product delivery by aerial drone.

A Google drone might deliver your Chipotle burrito, but it looks like it won't deliver your Starbucks coffee.

The Project Wing drone delivery program, now a part of Google parent company Alphabet, has scrapped a Starbucks partnership as part of a cost-cutting move, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The budget cuts also mean a hiring freeze and an attempt to shift employees to other projects, according to the report.

The company still believes in the technology. "Project Wing has the potential to remove a big chunk of the friction in how physical things are moved around in the world," the X group said in a statement. "What we're doing now is developing the next phase of our technology, and as always are thinking in a very broad way about all the potential use cases for delivery by unmanned aerial systems. While there's still a lot of work to be done, we believe that opening the skies to faster, more efficient transportation of goods is a moonshot worth pursuing."

And Astro Teller, interim leader for Project Wing, said in a September blog post that X projects like Project Wing necessarily change course as they develop, with progress looking "much more like a sailboat tacking than a sprinter racing in a straight line."

E-commerce titan Amazon remains a vocal advocate of drones to deliver products. With faster delivery, e-commerce will expand from an occasional activity to a frequently used way to get whatever you need whenever you need it.

First published November 8, 1:57 p.m. PT.

Update, 4:22 p.m.: Adds comment from Alphabet's X group.