Recently elevated CTO turned CEO Adam Woodworth said the launch would make Wing’s services the first commercial drone delivery service in a major U.S. metropolitan area. With Walgreens as the launch partner, select customers who live in eligible homes in the City of Frisco and Town of Little Elm will be able to order health and wellness products and have them delivered by drones to their homes.
The company plans to add more partners: Blue Bell Creameries for ice-cream delivery, easyvet, a prescription service for pet medication, and Texas Health, which provides first-aid kits.
“This is an important milestone for Wing and drone delivery in the U.S. It would not have been possible without the support of the public officials and the citizens of Frisco and Little Elm citizens, and our merchant partners,” Woodworth said.
Wing also worked with Hillwood, a real estate developer, to prepare a separate drone delivery facility within Frisco Station, an urban, mixed-use development located in Frisco. Hillwood was an attractive partner because of its Alliance Texas Mobility Innovation Zone, which has a dedicated industrial airport.
What’s white, yellow, and can now be seen carrying @Walgreens health products, @ILoveBlueBell ice cream, @texashealth 1st aid kits and @easyvetclinic pet meds around the Dallas suburbs? You can probably guess, but read to learn more 👉 https://t.co/n0bWmEPTHF pic.twitter.com/ApZpa0A4rx— Wing (@Wing) April 4, 2022
How the Delivery Works
In an October 2021 press release, the company outlined how its new drone model would serve densely populated metropolitan areas.
“The aircraft will arrive in small containers that serve as tiny hangars, allowing each store to quickly and easily deploy a small, dedicated fleet from its parking lot, on its roof, or in small spaces adjacent to the building.”
Walgreens team members will load the packages onto the drone and Wing will oversee the delivery.
History of Success
Wing already has a history of successful drone delivery operations. In January 2019, the company began delivering takeout food in Australia. It then launched in Helsinki, Finland, before starting operations in Virginia in the U.S. The launch in Texas is its fifth integration of delivery drones into local airspace. In 2021, the company completed more than 100,000 deliveries in Australia. In 2022, it registered its busiest week so far when it delivered 1,000-plus packages in a single day or once every 25 seconds.
In total, Wing has completed more than 200,000 commercial deliveries across the globe.
Wing’s drone is designed as a hybrid, using both fixed-wing and hover propellers to transition between operating like an airplane and a helicopter. It flies at a speed of 65 mph or approximately 56 knots. According to its website, its record order-to-delivery time is just under 2 minutes and 50 seconds. The payload must weigh less than 2.6 pounds, and it can fly a roundtrip distance of up to 12 miles. While the drones are autonomous, remote pilots monitor the aircraft and can take over should something go wrong.
Wing is one of the few successful ventures out of Alphabet’s research and development innovation subsidiary known as X Development or The Moonshot Factory. The goal of the subsidiary is to find and develop products and services as profitable as Google, the company’s ubiquitous search engine. Another X Development venture that has gained traction is Waymo, the driverless car company, coincidentally founded by Sebastian Thrun, who is now CEO of Kittyhawk, another prominent electric aircraft startup.