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News & Notes

Google’s Project Wing to Deliver Burritos by Drone

Save yourself the trip to Chipotle

September 8, 2016

An example of the delicious cargo that the Project Wing drones will carry.

Flickr / Aranami
Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., is now entering into the public testing stage of its drone delivery platform known as Project Wing. Alphabet is partnering with Chipotle Mexican Grill and Virginia Tech University to bring burritos to those who need them most — poor college kids.

The burrito initiative has been approved by the FAA and will utilize autonomous hybrid fixed-wing drones. While standard fixed-wing drones are well suited to stable and sustained flight, Project Wing’s hybrid will also have the ability to hover in place.

The deliveries will not come from a centralized Chipotle location — instead, they will fly from an on-campus Chipotle food truck. Operators in the truck will oversee the drone flights, ready to take control of the unmanned systems should anything go awry.

Much like other delivery systems from the likes of Amazon.com and Flirtey, the Project Wing drones will hover in place and lower the payload using a winch system and tether. In order to comply with the FAA’s current requirements that drones cannot fly over people, the participants awaiting their burritos will be protected by some kind of covering.

Just last month, Flirtey made the first legal pizza-by-drone delivery in partnership with Domino’s Pizza in Auckland, New Zealand. But this Project Wing initiative marks a major move for dorm-food cravings on U.S. soil.

Want to know when you can get burritos delivered to your door? Read up on the current status of legal drone deliveries in the U.S. in the September/October issue of Drone360 magazine, on newsstands now.
Featured image: Wikipedia / proshob