Google’s Wing Drone Delivery Service Suspended in Canberra and Ramps Up in Queensland

Google’s Wing Drone Delivery Service Suspended in Canberra and Ramps Up in Queensland

Wing, the drone delivery service being trialled in Australia by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has grounded its Canberra-based trial, the same week that it announced an expansion of its operations in Queensland, where it had first begun testing.

Wing began delivering goods in 2019, and in October 2022, the company started working with Coles to offer store-to-door deliveries in both Canberra and Gold Coast suburbs. Some Canberrans and Brisbanites could even order some Bánh Mì via Wing.

But now, Wing appears to be reeling in the service, to operate only within South-East Queensland. as reported by the ABC, Wing has shut down consumer-focused operations in Canberra, with some trials still operating in the city. The scrapping of Canberra-based consumer deliveries has to do with Wing’s shifting business model, the company’s head of public policy Jesse Suskin told the ABC.

“Over the years, as we’ve been operating more and growing more, we’ve shifted our [operating] model from flying drones from our own facilities,” he said.

“In Canberra, we had a warehouse in Mitchell, where the drones were taking off and landing and where merchants co-located their products with us. Now, we just put the drones at major shopping centres.”

Now that Wing has shifted to putting drones in major shopping centres, without the requirement of owning and operating its own warehouses, Suskin said that there wasn’t a suitable site for drones in Canberra. As such, consumer-scale operations have ceased the area.

Not operating its own warehouses drops operating costs significantly for the business, and removes the requirement for partner businesses to stock Wing’s warehouse with goods to be delivered. Cutting out the warehouse entirely removes a step to the process that can just be fulfilled by a Coles supermarket and by participating stores all located within the same shopping centre.

Although it’s shutting down consumer-focused operations in Canberra, Wing isn’t gearing up to leave the Aussie market, instead, it’s announced a new facility in Logan, which it had previously called “the drone delivery capital of the world”. With the new facility, Wing says it can now service the suburbs of Slacks Creek, Meadowbrook, Loganlea, Edens Landing, Loganholme, Kingston, Beenleigh, Holmview, Tanah Merah, Shailer Park, Daisy Hill, Cornubia, Springwood, Waterford, Waterford West, Eagleby, and Bethania.

Wing said that the new facility marks a milestone in its relationship with DoorDash, which users can order drone-delivered goods through.

Wing has been an interesting company to watch grow, but it’s interesting that it’s shutting down consumer operations in Canberra. The company will continue to test drones in Canberra and offer demos to businesses, but you won’t be able to order food with drones in the city for now. At least the birds will be happy.

Image: Wing

This article has been updated since it was originally published.

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