Walgreens will be the first retailer in the U.S. to test an on-demand drone delivery service with Wing in Christiansburg, Virginia next month.
Alphabet’s drone company Wing delivered 10,000 cups of coffee, 1,700 snack packs and 1,200 roast chickens to customers in Logan, Australia, over the last year, the company said Wednesday in a blog post outlining its progress.
Wing was initially launched in 2019 in Australia, following a series of drone tests that began in 2014. The service, which was initially part of Alphabet’s experimental research division, allows users to order items such as food through a mobile app and is fast approaching 100,000 deliveries since its launch.
Wing hopes to one day deliver products to people all over the world without having to rely on drivers or delivery trucks like other companies. It’s the reason UPS, Uber and Amazon are also working on drone delivery.
The company works with over 30 partners globally including local coffee shops and national brands like Walgreens, according to a February blog post. Local businesses can also reach out directly to the company to get involved. In 2020, Wing partnered with a Virginia school district to deliver library books during the pandemic.
In 2019, Wing became the first drone delivery firm to win approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which permitted the company to start dropping packages. That year, Wing was looking to fill at least two dozen roles in the U.S., and the company began testing a service with Walgreens to deliver food, beverages and over-the-counter medications, and a trial with FedEx.
Amazon, which launched an initiative called Prime Air in 2016, received FAA approval in 2020 to deliver packages beyond the visual line of sight of a drone operator.
Wing currently operates in the U.S., Finland and Australia.
The company said it will announce new cities and partners in the coming months.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that in 2019 Wing became the first drone delivery firm to win approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.