GOOGLE has tested autonomous delivery drones in Queensland.
The drones, part of a 2 year program called Project Wing is part of Google’s R&D division called Google X, which is also working on the company’s self-driving car technology.
The goal of Project Wing is to develop drones that can be used to deliver disaster relief to isolated areas.
The drones could bring small items like batteries and medicines to people in need that normal vehicles cannot reach.
Testing in Queensland involved delivering packages to remote farms from neighbouring properties. Google said it decided to test its drones in Australia due to its relaxed rules about the use of drones.
Google’s drones have a 1.5m wingspan, and is driven by four electric propellers. Each aircraft weighs 8.5kg but can carry an additional 1.5kg for a total weight of 10kg.
The aircraft sits on its tail while on the ground. The propellers give it lift, but once its in the air, the drone flips into a horizontal flying mode.
This mix between plane and quadcopter means that the drone can take off and land without a runway, as well as hover in position, just like a normal drone. But the plane mode means it can fly for longer distances than normal quadcopters.
Google engineers pre-program the drones with a destination, and they then fly themselves to their destination based on their GPS readings, making for truly unmanned flying.