Airborne Drone Deliveries to Start in Dallas-Fort Worth

Anybody want their prescriptions airlifted to them? Walgreens customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will have that option soon. Alphabet-owned drone deployment system Wing has partnered with the drug store chain to make drone deliveries a reality. The drone flights have been in testing out of Fort Worth-based Hillwoods Alliance Texas Flight Test Center. In the coming weeks, the drones will launch from Walgreens parking lots. The’ll initially deliver to a portion of the Dallas-Fort Worth region including Frisco and Little Elm. If successful, the companies plan to roll the drone deliveries out even further after a few months. Alphabet says businesses can also deploy the drones from rooftops or next to buildings. UPS began testing drone delivery in 2018. The company has recently used drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, but this is yet another commercial application of the technology.

Until now, this type of service in the United States has been limited to smaller towns, where land usage is less crowded and complex. Wing’s reliable aircraft and advanced flight planning and routing capabilities make it uniquely capable of operating a highly automated drone delivery service in more crowded, complex operating environments.

 

Alphabet's Waymo Offers 'Early Riders' Driverless Rides in Phoenix

Alphabet’s driverless car company—Waymo—announced an “Early Rider” program for its driverless cars. The company has invited the general public to apply to be part of the program, saying “We’re searching for early riders in parts of the Phoenix metropolitan area, including Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert. Come join us in making it safer and easier for everyone to get around!” The feel-good video below features a family that participated in small-scale tests, and Waymo said it would accept a “limited number” of additional participants in the expanded program. Alphabet CEO Larry Page has been an enthusiastic pursuer of driverless car technology since before Google, and Waymo’s goal is to launch a ride-hailing service based on its driverless platform. Apple, Didi, Uber, and a variety of other tech companies are all invested in a similar vision. Waymo’s testing in Arizona is a sharp reminder that a driverless future is marching inexorably closer. You can apply at Waymo’s site.