The future of burrito delivery has arrived in Australia. Google drones will soon be able to drop burritos into the yards of customers in the land down under.
The plan for Google affiliate Project Wing, which on Tuesday announced new tests of its drone delivery service with two Australian businesses, a Mexican taqueria chain, and a drugstore company, is to drop piping hot burritos into people’s yards. Last year, Wing launched a pilot program with the University of Virginia thanks to a Federal Aviation Authority-approved partnership with Chipotle.
According to The Verge, Wing’s drones will be delivering third-party products in Australia to individual homes. Australia is a more fertile testing ground for drone delivery technology because of its lax regulatory environment. For example, last year, Wing had to deliver to Virginia Tech students in a large open field. Strict FAA regulations, along with leadership changes, have also made it difficult for Wing to secure more partnerships in the US.
The Australian tests are taking place in a rural community near Canberra, the national capital, where residents “face a 40-minute round trip in the car for almost anything, whether it’s a carton of milk, veggies for dinner, or a cup of coffee,” James Burgess, one of Project Wing’s managers said in a company blog post. But the drone delivery isn’t all that simple either.
“With each delivery, we encounter a new yard space with its own layout of trees, sheds, fences, and power lines,” Burgess wrote. The issues range from programming the devices to maneuver safely around obstacles like parked cars or outdoor furniture to following customers’ wishes to set down perishable food items close to their kitchens. “The information we gather from both of these test partners will help us build a system so that merchants of all kinds can focus on what they’re good at — like making food or helping people feel healthier — rather than being distracted by complex delivery logistics,” Burgess said.
Project Wing’s endeavors in Australia are the latest move in the drone delivery race heating up among big brands. Last year, Domino’s announced it would start using the devices to drop pizza off to customers in New Zealand. Amazon ( , Tech30) pulled off its first drone delivery in the U.K. last December with an Amazon Fire device and a bag of popcorn. And innovative drone initiatives are also in the works in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Reykjavik in Iceland.
Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.