"On October 20, 2019, Wing, a subsidiary of American multinational conglomerate Alphabet Inc., began the most advanced trials of commercial drone delivery in the US yet in Christiansburg, Virginia. Residents can now use a smartphone app to order items from Wing partners such as pharmacy giant Walgreens and local specialty chocolate and popcorn retailer Sugar Magnolia. A Wing drone will pick up the order and gently lower the package with the help of a tether outside the customer's door within an hour!
Though Wing is the first American company to receive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to use commercial drones as a widespread service, it is not the only one. On October 22, 2019, multinational package delivery company UPS, which has also received FAA approval for its drone fleet, announced it would soon begin trial deliveries of prescriptions and other goods from retail and health care company CVS. Meanwhile, ridesharing company Uber, which has partnered with McDonald's, hopes to dispatch its drones to deliver food to hungry customers in San Diego, CA, before the end of 2019. Amazon also plans on testing its long touted "Prime Air" service in a yet-to-be-determined location in the upcoming months.
While every company's drones can carry packages weighing up to five pounds, their design and delivery mechanisms differ widely. The Wing drone's airplane-like wings are fitted with propellers, which enable it to fly longer distances on less fuel. The autonomous aircraft has a maximum speed of 70 miles per hour and can travel up to 12 miles in under 10 minutes. The Wing drone bypasses the challenge of finding a suitable landing area by using a tether to lower the package to the ground. Upon landing, the goods are automatically unclipped and the drone returns to the closest warehouse to pick up its next delivery."
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