Google Announces Delivery Drones – Project Wing VS Amazon Prime Air

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August 29, 2014
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Google announces Project Wing, a drone delivery system that will be a direct competitor to Amazon Prime Air.

Google has always been a company with big ideas, so it’s no shock that they’re trying to get into the drone delivery business. But the thing that’s even more interesting (to me) is the design that they’re using, and the fact that they’ve been working on drone delivery for 2 years which is a actually 1 year longer than Amazon.

What is Project Wing?

Project Wing is a program started by Google x in 2012 to experiment with different possibilities for delivering goods by drones. If you didn’t already know, Google x is a part of Google where they work on top secret innovative projects that usually change the world.

Currently, the main models used in Project Wing are VTOL (vertical takeoff/landing) flying wing designs. These planes are about 5 feet wide, 2.5 feet tall and have 4 propellers.

One of the coolest things about Project Wing is the VTOL design, which basically just means that it hovers vertically like a quadcopter when taking off and dropping packages, but flies just like a plane when going long distances. The reason for this is to have the accuracy of a quadcopter, but the efficiency of a plane all in one model. It also has some other cool features like a super long winch for lowering items to the ground.

Where Did The Design Come From?

The project was originally started by Nick Roy in 2012 to determine if drones were a viable option for delivering packages.

Although the Project Wing designs that we’ve seen so far are very cool, they’re not as original as you may think. A company by the name of Transition Robotics has been making a similar design called the Quadshot, which came out back in 2011. The Quadshot is basically a flying wing with 4 propellors. It looks just like what Google has but smaller and not as clean and elaborate looking.

Unfortunately, Transition Robotics doesn’t seem to make the Quadshot anymore, but it’s a cool idea, and that’s probably where Google got it’s inspiration from.

Project Wing VS Amazon Prime Air

There are a few things that give Google the upper hand in this drone delivery battle. The first is that Google obviously has a lot more resources than amazon, since they already have their own robotics division and have been working on things like self driving cars for many years now.

Another thing to note is that Google already has a prototype that actually works. Although Project Wing is in no way ready for real world applications, in their video they showed that they at least have a working drone which can fly completely autonomously, where as the drone in Amazon’s video was just an octocopter being flown manually.

In some ways, Amazon Prime Air feels more like a publicity stunt, where as Google Wing feels more like a real development of something that could really work many years from now. But who knows! Maybe Amazon really is working on a drone delivery system, and maybe they’re just not telling people about any of the real progress that they’ve made with it.

Google’s Project Wing Video

 

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