Alphabet’s Project Wing is delivering burritos by drone in Australia

By Tom Wadlow
Mexican food fans in Australia could have their next burrito delivered by a drone. Project Wing, part of Google’s parent Alphabet Inc., is trialling...

Mexican food fans in Australia could have their next burrito delivered by a drone.

Project Wing, part of Google’s parent Alphabet Inc., is trialling drone delivery for Guzman y Gomez, a Mexican food chain, and Chemist Warehouse, a chain of pharmacies. 

The tests are being trialled in the rural ACT and Queanbeyan regions of Australia, targeting consumers who face a long drive to their nearest retailers. 

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Among the features tested will be the drones’ ability to detect trees, fences and power lines when selecting which area to lower the products. This builds on an experiment carried out on the campus of Virginia Tech, also involving burritos.

James Ryan Burgess, Co-lead of Project Wing, said in a blog post: “Last year at Virginia Tech, our first deliveries with members of the public were in an open field, not to a specific address or location. Now, with each delivery, we encounter a new yard space with its own layout of trees, sheds, fences, and power lines. That means that in addition to learning what people want delivered, we also have to learn how to best deliver items to people.

“Our drones are able to deliver items almost anywhere — backyards, public parks, farmlands or even fire-breaks. But we need to train our systems to reliably identify safe and convenient delivery locations. This is more complicated than it looks.”

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