Wing, the Alphabet-owned drone startup, will launch a delivery service in Finland’s capital Helsinki next month. The trial will make deliveries to residents in the city’s Vuosaari district, which Wing notes is the capital’s most populous area. The service will offer products from two shops: the gourmet supermarket Herkku Food Market and local restaurant Cafe Monami.
When Wing first announced its intention to launch a trial in Finland, it said that delivery flights would cover a maximum of 10km with packages weighing 1.5kg or less, and with delivery times expected to be around 10 minutes. Since making the announcement, Wing has been running test flights in Teisko, a municipality to the north of Helsinki, to ensure that its drones are up to the task of flying in harsh conditions.
Wing says it’s been hosting community events in Vuosaari to prepare local residents for the drones that will shortly be flying over their neighborhood. However, the company’s drones have been criticized in the past for the amount of noise they produce. During a trial period in the Australian capital of Canberra, some residents told ABC News that they could hear the drones flying overhead even with their windows closed.
These reports were apparently not serious enough to discourage Australia’s aviation authority from granting Wing regulatory approval to start making public deliveries. Not long afterward, the FAA followed suit and granted its approval for the company to start making deliveries in the US. Wing plans to start making deliveries in Virginia in the coming months.
While Wing goes from strength to strength, Amazon’s competing Prime Air delivery service has gone quiet. Despite a much publicized drone delivery made in the UK in 2016, and another delivery in the US in 2017 we haven’t heard much from Amazon’s drone efforts in recent years. Last year, an Amazon spokesperson said it remained “committed” to making drone deliveries a reality.
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