Alphabet’s drone delivery company Wing has seen a “significant” increase in demand in recent weeks as people adhere to social distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. Business Insider reports that in the last two weeks the company’s drones have made over 1,000 deliveries, while Bloomberg reports a doubling of deliveries in the US and Australia.
Wing currently offers its drone deliveries in a limited number of places worldwide. These include locations in Virginia, Finland, and Australia, where the company has partnered with local shops for deliveries. Customers use Wing’s app to make an order, and their deliveries can arrive within minutes thanks to drones that can travel at around 65 mph.
”No one could have predicted coronavirus, but even we were surprised at the uptake of customers”
Although Wing’s drones are limited by the amount of weight they’re able to carry, their deliveries can happen without people needing to travel or to interact with one another. It’s great news for communities trying to practice good social distancing during the pandemic. In contrast, it’s much more difficult for human delivery drivers to keep their distance.
Wing has expanded its delivery options in light of the pandemic by offering items like pasta and baby food due to the demands of people staying at home, Bloomberg reports, while in Australia it’s added another grocery store to fulfill requests for milk and bread.
”No one could have predicted coronavirus, but even we were surprised at the uptake of customers when ‘shelter in place’ came into Virginia,” Wing’s head of marketing and communications, Alexa Dennett, told Business Insider, “It’s really early days so it’s hard to know how coronavirus will shape our business’s strategy... Ultimately we would love many more households around the US and the world to have access to our technology.” Dennett declined to comment further on the company’s expansion plans.
Wing is currently the only service offering drone deliveries to the general public in North America, although Amazon is also working to launch its own Prime Air service.