[Google Wings is piloting its delivery drones (in both senses of the word) at a
small new residential area called Googong, outside Queanbeyan NSW:
A new article has been published, copy below.
[Here's my alternative report based on the evidence so far:
Official confirmation was provided today that the Google experiments with
drones as urban delivery vehicles has been going pretty badly.
Google company Project Wing said that the most advanced testing with
participants to date occurred in a low-density greenfields site 10km from the
nearest town, the flight-path used was only 1km and affected only six
households, and the reception by participants was at best lukewarm.
The usual safety-margins were reduced, but the drones were not permitted to fly
within 15 metres of people or property. This of course limits the scope for
services to areas with no higher densities than 5-acre properties.
The company hopes to get approval to move beyond visual line of sight
operation, which will reduce the number of warehouses needed in order to cover
medium-density eastern Australia below the currently-estimated 200,000.
[Read on, and tell me whether you think I'm misinterpreting the data ...]
Google company Project Wing looking to expand testing in Canberra region
The Canberra Times
August 6 2017
Google sister company Project Wing is seeking approval from the Civil Aviation
Safety Authority (CASA) to extend their approved testing distance within
The US company hope CASA will grant approval to fly beyond one kilometre and
staff will search the region for a suitable new test site.
Project Wing just completed a two week test of their autonomous drone delivery
system with the help of residents in Googong.
During the two week period the drones flew within one kilometre while always in
a pilot's line of sight in case of emergency.
CASA's Peter Gibson said the main issue with granting further approval was the
line of sight requirement. Basic drone regulations in Australia enforce a line
of sight rule for all drone operators.
Commercial operators are able to seek approval to operate drones not in visual
line of sight and CASA grants these on a case by case basis once risks are
identified and mitigation strategies are in place.
Project Wing use the operator licence of Brisbane-based Unmanned Systems
Australia and Mr Gibson said that CASA "look forward to assessing their
A spokeswoman for Project Wing said there would be no changes sought to the
restrictions that their drones may not fly within 15 metres of people or
property who provided consent.
James Ryan Burgess, Co-Lead of Project Wing, said before testing began that the
company "want to give all our devotion and attention to this area".
He also signalled an intention to eventually test in Canberra but there has
been no updates on a timeline for that.
Despite early concerns from some residents and Canberra Airport, the company
are pleased with the outcome of the testing.
The spokeswoman said the residents involved in the test, which involved six
households, provided valuable feedback that will shape the project moving
"We're really grateful to the Fernleigh Park community for being so hospitable
and giving their feedback," she said.
The most common feedback returned was that residents would find receiving meals
and medicine via drones most useful.
There were also criticisms that the specially-designed packaging was too
difficult to open and the smartphone app needed improvement.
This feedback has been delivered to engineers in California to be implemented
in future tests. The company tests the technology daily at its facility in
California's Central Valley, however the most advanced testing with
participants occurred in Googong.
Roger Clarke http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 6916 http://about.me/roger.clarke
Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science Australian National University
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