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Google Testing Drone Delivery System: 'Project Wing'

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the ok-google-bring-me-a-pizza dept.

Google 52

rtoz writes: Google's research division, Google X, is developing a fleet of drones to deliver goods. This drone delivery system is called "Project Wing," and Google X has been developing it in secret for the past two years. During a recent test in Australia, drones successfully delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water to a couple of Australian farmers. The self-flying vehicle uses four electrically-driven propellers to get around, and it has a wingspan of about five feet. It weighs just under 19 pounds and can take off and land without a runway. Google's long-term goal is to develop drones that could be used for disaster relief by delivering aid to isolated areas.

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Aerial bacon (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 months ago | (#47783533)

Pigs on the Wing [youtube.com]

Re:Aerial bacon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47783609)

Yeah this is offtopic. I love the MIDI/MOD style music you hear when you install lots of pirate game releases by RELOADED (fuck DRM, fuck corporate control freaks, and fuck hostile business practices). Anybody else remember swapping .MOD files on local BBSes with a modem?

Google X? Project Wing? (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 2 months ago | (#47783559)

X-Wing deliveries?

Sorry, but that was just begging for a Star Wars reference.

Re:Google X? Project Wing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47783801)

Or project X?

Re:Google X? Project Wing? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47784313)

I guess the people at Google think they can force their way into the delivery market.

Range? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47783571)

The only problem with using little (thought 19lb isn't so small I guess) is the range. My models usually only get 10 to 15 min of airtime before I need to swap batteries. What sort of range can you expect? 10Miles round trip seems sort of a stretch. Especially with the electronics and the payload. Not to mention the time it takes to hover and deploy the payload.

Re:Range? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47784235)

Since they're not landing it, I don't see a reason why they couldn't just go for more wing area and a lower wing loading. It could be as efficient as a sailplane.

Re:Range? (1)

dr.newton (648217) | about 2 months ago | (#47786833)

A 5-foot wingspan on a quad allows for huge props. That can lead to very long flight times with a well-engineered drone.

My 3DRobotics Y6 can do 90km/h, even if only for 8 minutes on one battery. That's a range of 6km, including return flight. Range would be higher at a lower speed, as it's more efficient, although I haven't had the balls to send the drone that far away from me in flight to test it. I'd guess I could do 10km out and 10km back on a $75 battery if I had the nerve to lose sight of my baby for that long.

See http://diydrones.com/profiles/... [diydrones.com] . These guys hope for a 1-hour flight time out of a quad with 27"-29" props on a 12kg (26lb.) drone. That's a range of 25km out and 25km back at a speed of 50km/h, which is not that fast. They've done some math that leads me to believe they are at least in the ballpark. And these guys are hobbyists.

Not such a stretch to think a company like Google could cover some good distance with a quadcopter of 9kg (19lbs.). 16km (10mi), as you say, is definitely achievable with current technology, and battery technology is due for a drastic improvement, with all the resources being put into it by different universities and companies.

I can see it now (5, Funny)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 2 months ago | (#47783625)

A hurricane hits the southern United States, as hurricanes tend to do. Thousands of people are without food or water, and desperate to get somewhere with food and shelter. Suddenly, a thousand Google drones descend from the sky, carrying much-needed supplies. The people rush toward the landing zones, only to hear:

"Please log in with your Google + account."

One brave man attempts to do so, and the voice continues.

"I'm sorry, but Google now offers new account options. You can choose to merge your existing account, xxNarutoFan93xx, with your personal email registered to Robert Smith. Would you like to do that now and get a free Google + page, or do you have an existing brand or company and not wish to change your displayed name at this time?"

Like the riddle of the Sphinx, the pointless options are too much for poor Robert Smith, alias xxNarutoFan93xx, who slinks back into the crowd, still hungry and thirsty.

Re:I can see it now (4, Funny)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47783647)

^of course, they will deliver cookies for free. Maybe fly some banner ads behind as well.

Re:I can see it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47783967)

Gonna load an adblock shotgun.

Re:I can see it now (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 2 months ago | (#47784681)

new meaning to "your google profile will follow you around"...what's that buzzzzz overhead?

Say what you will but this is cool (1)

Katatsumuri (1137173) | about 2 months ago | (#47783697)

No matter whether it is Google or Amazon who gets this technology running first, and whether it is banned in America for a while, but this is our sci-fi future happening now, and it is amazingly cool to watch.

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47783731)

I don't know about you, but I've felt I lived in a sci-fi future since at least smartphones.

Then I remember my smart phone is assembled by an underclass of near slaves with appalling working conditions, whose suffering is hidden from me by layers of marketing, bureaucracy, and inter-corporate supply chains, and I realize, no, it's a cyber-punk future, actually.

I'm just not on the punk side, but instead the blaise upper class side that gets hacked by up-and-coming rebels in cyberpunk stories.

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 2 months ago | (#47784693)

but they have smartphones too...its not the technology that sets us free.

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47784999)

No, it's the money.

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 2 months ago | (#47786427)

Rejoice. Soon everything will be assembled by robot and we'll _all_ live in abject poverty.

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (3, Insightful)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 2 months ago | (#47783809)

No matter whether it is Google or Amazon who gets this technology running first, and whether it is banned in America for a while, but this is our sci-fi future happening now, and it is amazingly cool to watch.

If you consider "cool" as:
- You falling for Viral Marketing

Then yeah, i suppose its "cool". But to most of us, this is just a clear viral marketing attempt.
Its basic marketing, increase awareness for the company, increase profits.

Amazon did a few months ago, profits and awareness of the company increase.
But yet, wheres the drones or updates on them? Nowhere, why? Because everyone knows they just wouldn't work in our current world, let alone the laws that would prevent its flight.

This is clear viral marketing, dont be the fool and fall for it.

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 months ago | (#47783909)

Because everyone knows they just wouldn't work in our current world, let alone the laws that would prevent its flight.

But we have laws, passed by the legislature, that mandate the FAA publish new rules specifically covering the integration of this sort of thing into the NAS by 2015. The Obama administration has said, though, that they won't comply with the law, and are taking every opportunity to hinder this sort of thing. There's a reason that outfits like Google are now spending money, hiring, and testing in other countries: because those countries are less hostile to ventures like this.

There's absolutely NO reason in the world why the tests that Google is doing in Oz couldn't be done with farmers just like those in the article, but living instead in rural Iowa or Ohio or California. But no, the administration keeps releasing increasingly bizarre, increasingly punitive, increasingly job-killing "interpretation" of the 2012 law, with spin that runs exactly counter to the plain language and intent of congress. Thank you, Mr. Obama, for chasing ever more innovation and growth out of the country.

Re: Say what you will but this is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47786367)

So where does the liability lie when these things fall out of the sky, or collide with helicopters, planes, trains or automobiles? How will they "innovative" around that?

Re: Say what you will but this is cool (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47787003)

Collide with helicopters and planes? Trains and automobiles? Drones aren't high-altitude flyers nor near-ground flyers either. That's like being afraid that our moon's orbit is going to collide with Mars.

Re: Say what you will but this is cool (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 months ago | (#47787217)

So where does the liability lie when these things fall out of the sky, or collide with helicopters, planes, trains or automobiles? How will they "innovative" around that?

Where does the liability lie when a UPS truck backs over a baby stroller, or a FedEx delivery person loses control of a handtruck full of boxes and breaks someone's ankle? Where's the liability when an aircraft flown by DHL crashes short of the airport and burns a row of houses to the ground?

You make it sound like small plastic/foam flying wings with four battery-powered motors are the first dangerous thing that business has ever considered operating, and that there's no such thing as the liability insurance industry. Which means you're clueless about the real world, or just trolling. Or both.

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | about 2 months ago | (#47784419)

Amazon recently announced it was getting into the advertisement business, and it beat out Google to acquire Twitch.

Pure speculation on my part, but I have to wonder if this is just Google's CEO trying to steal some of the spotlight away from Amazon?

Suddenly, Google is saying, "Oh yeah... delivery drones. We've been doing this for some time now." It smells like petty CEO bickering. (As cool as delivery drones are.)

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47784983)

Then when are you expecting Google to announce? Never? And just have it show up one day delivering your goods?

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 months ago | (#47785029)

Amazon recently announced it was getting into the advertisement business, and it beat out Google to acquire Twitch.

Pure speculation on my part, but I have to wonder if this is just Google's CEO trying to steal some of the spotlight away from Amazon?

The real reason Amazon scooped Twitch and not Google was Google was worried about anti-trust issues if it bought Twitch [forbes.com] .

Amazon didn't get Twitch because they paid more than Google (Google offered more), Google walked away worried. Twitch probably egged Amazon on to get more money from Amazon after Google went away.

Re: Say what you will but this is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47786347)

Since when has Amazon ever made "profits"? Pretty sure over the last 5 years and it's lifetime it's lost more money, than it's made, kept afloat only by misleading financials and gullible investors.

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47786691)

Clearly viral marketing. Cause that video was pretty crappy in what their trying to demo--much like the amazon video (which was more about the concept than the tech). I wouldn't be surprised if it's a marketing stunt related to this [reuters.com] .

Re:Say what you will but this is cool (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47783821)

the scifi future seems to always be to suck up money from people with impulse control issues who want something NOW and are willing to pay big bucks for it and whine why it should be cheaper

preloading digital games so you can play the second the game goes live
one click shopping
digital media with no refunds even if you never use it or watch it

Re: Say what you will but this is cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47784059)

So you are ok with a drone hitting a plane and or you self and Google or Amazon using some eula to get out being responsible for it

From bots to robots? (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 2 months ago | (#47783889)

Well it's seems Google is making a serious step toward a literally robotic future. That seems to be pretty obvious with its driverless car project. But when Google first acquired a fistful of robotics-related companies, some commentators speculated it was to allow Google to more effectively "mine" the data that would be flowing from what's effectively a mobile data scanner. Google already has Streetview and its book scanning project, so this, the reasoning went, is where Google's new robotic technologies will most likely slot in.

Now I don't know. Maybe Google is really planning to build a robot army.

Re:From bots to robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47786149)

the drones will probably be taking new pictures to update google maps as they do deliveries.

For everyone outside the colonies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47783987)

Five feet is about one and a half meter.
19 pounds is about 18.6 kg.

Re:For everyone outside the colonies (2)

amalcolm (1838434) | about 2 months ago | (#47784243)

Ummm, no 19 pounts is about 8.6 kg

Re:For everyone outside the colonies (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47784295)

Not sure about 19 pounts, but 19 pounds is indeed 8.61826 kg.

Re:For everyone outside the colonies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47784275)

First ones right.

19 pounds is 8.6kg

relief? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47784109)

"Google's long-term goal is to develop drones that could be used for disaster relief by delivering aid to isolated areas."

Or as it is called in non bullshitese; take high res pictures for google maps.

Competing with Amazon yet again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47784225)

I think the title says it all. Sounds like another 'me too!' from google.

Re:Competing with Amazon yet again? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47784305)

I'll wait for the iDrone.

Re:Competing with Amazon yet again? (1)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | about 2 months ago | (#47785205)

Surely you can't be Sirious.

Re:Competing with Amazon yet again? (1)

tom17 (659054) | about 2 months ago | (#47785951)

Oh well done sir. I appleaud you on your funny.

Good I'm practicing too. (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47784383)

I haven't shot skeet in a long time. It's time to start practicing again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] Either that or I could just pick up Falconry. [wikipedia.org]

Google, though? (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 2 months ago | (#47784521)

I don't understand how this fits in to Google's business model. Amazon, I understood -- but Google is an advertising firm. They don't sell tangible products that require delivery. Why do they care about how things are delivered when they don't deliver anything?

Re:Google, though? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 months ago | (#47784931)

Google is actually in the delivery business - see their Google Shopping Express.

But no, this is not part of their core business – this falls into one of their moonshot projects. Personally, I don't like when companies move out of their core. General Motors going into IT consulting, Apple Computers going into MP3 players, Microsoft going into MP3 players, Amazon moving away from books into cloud services. etc. Historically these ventures generate piss poor returns for the owners. Generally these things are better left to start-ups. But sometimes you have to give management the benefit of doubt.

Re:Google, though? (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 2 months ago | (#47786443)

Well, is there a best way to know your consuming habits than to sell and deliver everything ?

You realize drones are flying cars right? (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 2 months ago | (#47784649)

Pulled through the mangle of reality. The future is now.

Re:You realize drones are flying cars right? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47787525)

You realize cars are something people use to travel right?

The FedEx bomber (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about 2 months ago | (#47784689)

Google is always doing weird experimental shit. So this is not news.

What would be news is what FedEx or UPS are working on wrt drones. Imagine a FedEx jet flying high over a city, its bombay doors opening to spill out a fleet drone quadcopters that deliver the goods to designated rooftop landing pads. Imagine a world where technology is paying as much attention to the last 2,000 (vertical) feet of delivery as we do to the last mile of communications.

Where has Google been? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47784831)

Hasn't everybody been experimenting with drones for like years already, eh hoser?

subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47785025)

'Google's long-term goal is to develop drones that could be used for disaster relief by delivering aid to isolated areas.'

Hahaha. Yeah right. And who on earth would believe that PR-bullshit? I can only think that in the short term they will be used to take pictures or video for google maps or something like it. Long term? Perhaps fly around and show ad-banners or something, like in Bladerunner? Perhaps listening in on peoples conversations and suggest crap to buy: Hi consumer! I notice you are talking about cars. Might I suggest a lovely insurance for you?

What a great way to get weed ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47785879)

Perfect for that shy and "creatively inactive" dealer too "busy" to get to you.

Time to make a quad copter interceptor ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47786203)

A quadcopter can not outrun a rocket. So I'm thinking about building a rocket propelled interceptor that will deploy a fishnet over the drone forcing it to fall from the sky. It's going to be easy to pirate drones.

Testing is one thing, Doing it for real, not yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47787459)

The technology to do this isn't ready yet.

http://flyingandtechnology.blogspot.com/2014/06/faa-and-uas.html

tldr; there are situations where the drones will be dangerous to people and objects (including aircraft) that need to be considered.

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