Wing, an Alphabet subsidiary, has unveiled a series of new prototype delivery drones designed to handle a variety of payloads. The company has developed a set of basic hardware and software components that can be used to create a variety of different vehicles suited to specific use cases: an aircraft library.
Drone designs draw inspiration from common avionics assemblies, propulsion system elements, and materials. This allows developers to rapidly evolve aircraft configurations from a proven base and adapt them to a wide range of uses, from delivering food, medicine and other goods, to optimizing supply chain and emergency response.
“Just as the ideal vehicle for hauling a ton of gravel would be a dump truck rather than a sedan, the ideal plane for transporting a bottle of medicine is not the same as the best for delivering a gallon of milk, and none are suitable to deliver a fridge,” Wing CEO Adam Woodworth wrote in a blog post.
Wing’s variety of different sized drones include a larger drone that can carry over seven pounds and a smaller drone designed to carry prescription drugs weighing up to 0.6 pounds. Its flagship drone is designed to handle payloads of up to 2.5 pounds. Wing said up to 90% of deliveries today are packages weighing five pounds or less.
Since these concept designs are intended to take advantage of core elements of Wing’s operational system, the company can focus new design work on a shorter list of new and unique tasks, knowing that the brains of the system remain the same. Wing can have tiny planes for pharmaceutical delivery, large planes for shipping execution, long-range planes for logistics flights, and dedicated hover platforms for delivery in cities.
Aligned to a core set of capabilities – efficient flight, precision delivery, optimized airframes and autonomous navigation – each of these designs is suited for a different use. These planes represent a more efficient approach to multimodal delivery that is safer and more sustainable as well.
In August 2021, Wing passed the milestone of 100,000 deliveries, thanks to the popularity it found in Australian suburbs. Now the company is bound to deliver a lot more payloads with its new variety of drones tackling a wide range of cargo.
meta: Alphabet subsidiary Wing has unveiled a series of new prototype delivery drones designed to handle a variety of payloads.