There was an immeasurable distance between the quick and the dead: they did not seem to belong to the same species; and it was strange to think that but a little while before they had spoken and moved and eaten and laughed - W. Somerset Maugham
GOOGLE HAS ADMITTED that it has a delivery drone project known as Project Wing.
Nine months after the first stories emerged that Amazon was planning a similar scheme for its Prime expedited delivery service, Google has revealed that it has been toying with a similar project for a couple of years.
Google X, the company's division responsible for its most secretive product research, has been incubating Project Wing with experimental deliveries to remote Queensland farms of essentials including cattle vaccines, fresh water and dog treats, though seemingly at the expense of a crate of Castlemaine XXXX.
The announcement was spurred by Google's hiring of a new team leader, experienced automotive engineer Dave Vos, who will take the concept to reality, something that Amazon hasn't achieved yet.
Google said, "Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving goods - including options that are cheaper, faster, less wasteful and more environmentally sensitive than what's possible today."
The main barrier to success of the drone projects for both companies will be approval from government aviation regulators, which have viewed the idea of drone activity in the sky as a potential headache.
The Wall Street Journal reported rumours that Dominos Pizza has also been thinking of delivering pizza by drone, but so far only oil giant BP has successfully flown a commercial drone, and that was over Alaska where there are fewer people to worry about privacy.
Privacy is another major barrier to drone acceptance. Many see the term drone as simply a synonym for 'spy plane' or 'weapons delivery system'.
Earlier this year researchers were able to simulate a fly-by attack by a drone fitted with a low-powered transmitter, which was able to hack the internet connections of homes via the red button.
Mark Zuckerberg's internet.org initiative has been looking at ways of using drones to provide WiFi to remote areas, but the potential Machiavellian uses for this idea have also raised concerns among privacy advocates.
Google has itself been looking at delivering WiFi by drone following its purchase of Titan Aerospace earlier this year as part of Project Loon, the company's initiative to create a network of WiFi-carrying weather balloons. µ
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