Google’s ‘Project Wing’ will deliver food using unmanned aerial vehicles during research flights at Virginia Tech
Sep 08 2016
WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) celebrated the announcement that Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and Project Wing, the aviation division of X, will deliver food using unmanned aerial vehicles during research flights this fall at Virginia Tech. X is a research and development lab run by Alphabet Inc., which also owns Google.
“The commercial use of drones for package and food delivery in U.S. airspace is rapidly becoming a reality,” said Sen. Warner. “Beyond the commercial applications, this technology will soon provide us with the ability to deliver lifesaving drugs and medical equipment like defibrillators, and deliver food and other emergency relief to remote areas after natural disasters. I am pleased we were able to work with Project Wing and other partners to leverage Virginia Tech’s outstanding research capacity to capitalize on the tremendous potential in unmanned technology. ”
The flights will be Project Wing's first tests involving external users in the U.S., and is its first collaboration with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved unmanned aircraft test site. The current phase of research is taking place at a closed site with a small group of students and employees, and is not open to the public. Extended flight tests at Virginia Tech will yield technical, safety, and user-experience data on food delivery via unmanned aircraft. Virginia Tech and Project Wing will share findings from the research with the FAA.
The Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership was selected by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013 as one of six national test sites for unmanned aircraft. Since then, researchers have investigated medical supply delivery to remote locations, worked with NASA to research a traffic management research platform for unmanned aircraft, assisted in search and rescue missions, and enabled many other unmanned aircraft applications.