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World-first drone delivery service gets approval in Australia's capital

Christian Fernsby |
Australia's aviation authority has granted approval for a world-first drone delivery system to take to the skies in the nation's capital city Canberra.

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Project Wing, a venture of Google's parent company Alphabet, was on Tuesday given the green light to begin full operations in Canberra by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

It comes after an 18-month trial of using drones to deliver food, drinks and medication in the Canberra suburb of Bonython was deemed successful.

CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said that the authority was satisfied with the safety of the drones, pilot training, operational plans and traffic management system.

"We've gone through all the thorough safety assessment we did for the Bonython operation, we've done that now for Mitchell and surrounding suburbs. We'll issue the appropriate permissions for those to go ahead," he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio.

"Everyone can rest assured from a safety perspective it will operate very, very well, just as it did down at Bonython."

According to Alphabet, more than 1,000 packages were successfully delivered during the trial period without a single safety incident.

Canberra residents expressed concerns about the noise generated by the drones during public hearings on the project but Wing has developed a quieter model for the wide-scale operation.

"We're excited to connect with more local businesses in the area about how we can help them reach more customers faster, safer and more sustainably," Project Wing said in a media release.

The drones will be launched from a warehouse in the Canberra suburb of Mitchell, which was built by Alphabet months in advance of approval being given.

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