Google Takes To The Skies Testing Its Own ‘Project Wing’ Drone Delivery Service

If you grew up watching The Jetsons on television, you might have thought the future would be filled with flying cars. Instead, some 52 years after the original series first aired, the skies are filling up with delivery drones, not flying cars. It's not just Amazon, either -- apparently the Google X team has been working drones of its own for the past two years as part of Project Wing, only we're just now finding out about them.

Project Wing is different from Amazon's PrimeAir initiative in that Google's goal isn't necessarily to delivery purchased goods like diapers and iPads. From the way things sound, Google's more interested in fleshing out the program to where it can be used in emergency situations -- drones would be able to drop water and other supplies during a disaster, such as an earthquake or helping someone stranded in a remote location while a rescue effort is put into place.

Project Wing

That's not to say it Project Wing won't also take flight to deliver consumer goods, as the drones are definitely capable of that, even at this relatively early stage. That's just not the goal at this time. As the BBC reports things, Google's long-term goal is to develop drones that could be used for disaster relief by delivering medical supplies and other needed items to isolated areas.

"Project Wing is a Google X project that is developing a delivery system that uses self-flying vehicles. As part of our research, we built a vehicle and traveled to Queensland, Australia for some test flights," Google explains. "There, we successfully delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water to a couple of Australian farmers. We’re only just beginning to develop the technology to make a safe delivery system possible, but we think that there’s tremendous potential to transport goods more quickly, safely and efficiently."

Google Drone

The drones have a wingspan of around 1.5 meters (about 4.9 feet) with four electrically driven propellers and a total weight of about 10 kilograms (22 pounds). They're capable of taking off and landing without a runway, and they can hover in one spot. To get where they need to go, someone pre-programs a destination, after which the drones take flight by themselves.