So recently may have heard about the latest Project Wing from Google X and for those of you that don’t know Google X is the experimental division of Google. So after tackling self-driving cars, Google X is looking into drone technology. The latest project was kept secret and under wraps for two years and finally, it’s been unveiled and titled “Project Wing”.
Let’s take a quick look to see what all the fuss is about Project Wing and is it a direct answer to Amazon’s Prime Air – a drone delivery service.
Google Drones vs Amazon Drones
Amazon says that the customer will get products to their door within 30 minutes and Project Wing broadens the scope a little from Amazon. As Google says its long-term goal is to develop drones that could be used for disaster relief by delivering aid to isolated areas according to the BBC. They could be used for earthquakes floods or extreme weather events.
The drones could take small items such as medicines or batteries to the people in natural catastrophe areas that conventional vehicles just couldn’t reach according to a quote by Astro Teller, one of the founders of Google X. He states that “even just a few of these drones are being able to shuttle continuous service to a very large number of people in an emergency situation”.
Project Wing Services
Google X spokesman goes on to say that emergency services will now have a brand new set of tools for solutions within crisis situations. Interestingly enough Project Wing is currently being tested only in Queensland, Australia to be exact. But this is only because US federal aviation laws are too much strict in the U.S. to allow for free-flight testing.
Technology behind Project Wing
This idea first developed in Europe but slowly American adopted it in the early 1960s. It was a revolutionary concept, basically, a craft could take off vertically without the need for a runway and then propel itself like a regular aircraft once in the air.
One of the cool things that our news outlets seem to be ignoring is the actual aeronautical design of the cell flying vehicle. It has a wingspan of 1.5 meters, weight is 8.5 kilograms and it’s a VTOL aircraft. VTOL stands for “Vertical Takeoff and Landing”.
Two of the most famous examples of this craft would be the Harrier Jump Jet and the V-22 Osprey.
Another cool factor is the flying wing design, this means that the craft can fly more efficiently faster and travel much further distances than when compared to traditional quadcopter drone designs.
Issues with Google’s Project Wing
There still are a whole host of issues to deal with before commercial application. Some of these include Product theft, Wireless hijackings and Proximity sensors not being fast enough to detect potential crashes.
Need to mention, Government Aviation Regulations and fear by the UNTAC, savvy public Google X themselves say that this prototype is still years away from production but this along with Amazon’s Drone plans do give some insight into the future direction of small package delivery and disaster aid for that matter.
I personally find the stuff very interesting but I’m neither one way or the other. I’m not really on the edge of my seat and I’m not really against this either.