It's a first for FedEx that's giving new meaning to "air mail". Wing claims it is the first commercial drone delivery service in the US.
The California-based company is testing in Christiansburg first because of its partnership with Virginia Tech Mid Atlantic Aviation.
So far, the service is only available to select customers in Christiansburg as part of a trial service. The project is the first to receive approval from the FAA for commercial drone package delivery in the United States.
Flying at more than 70 miles per hour, the 10-pound drones will deliver orders for FedEx, Walgreens and area retailer Sugar Magnolia.
Susie Sensmeier received a purple winter vest she ordered from Dicks Sporting Goods delivered by a drone to her front yard.
The first Walgreens drone delivery customers ordered cough and cold medicine.
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"I'm getting older and this wears out too, so staying home and getting what you need is fine", she said.
October 18, 2019 - In each of three suburban yards in Christiansburg, Virginia, a drone zoomed into view, hovered over the lawn, and lowered a package neatly onto the grass. "We're constantly innovating, we're constantly looking at new technologies", Richard W. Smith, Regional President of United States and Global Support for Fed-Ex, said.
Privacy and safety concerns have been a concern across the U.S.as drone use increases.
In Wing's Australia pilot, Burgess said numerous deliveries are for food and cold medicine - things people may need when they don't want to leave the house. Wing's drones delivered over a thousand meals to Virginia Tech students and staff that fall. The location has been selected as the test market because Wing has been working with Virginia Tech in nearby Blacksburg, Va.to test drone delivery as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's integration pilot program since 2016.
The aim of Wing's drones is not to take pictures and video, he said, but rather to safely make deliveries. There are cameras on Wing's drones that are used for navigation, but Burgess said the images are processed onboard the aircraft and not streamed back to Wing's main servers.