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Alphabet’s Wing drones will soon be delivering DoorDash orders in Australia

Alphabet’s Wing drones will soon be delivering DoorDash orders in Australia


It’s a relatively limited pilot program that’s only available with certain items in a few areas, but it’s an exciting development for the service.

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Image of a drone carrying a parcel marked with Wing and Doordash’s logos.
Need a box of bandaids? Get it from a drone.
Image: Google

Wing — a company from Google’s parent organization, Alphabet — is integrating its drone deliveries into another service for the first time, with some DoorDash users getting the ability to order grocery essentials and snacks to be dropped from the sky. The companies are launching a pilot (haha) program where users in certain Australian neighborhoods will be able to have some DoorDash orders delivered not by a person driving a car or riding a bike but by a drone.

The test, which is launching this week, will be available to a “small number of households” in “select suburbs” of Logan, a town near Brisbane, Queensland, and there are plans to roll it out to more people over the next few months. If you’re lucky enough to be in that area, you’ll have a “DoorDash Air” section available in your app, where you can select specific items that’ll be put into a “Wing x DoorDash” parcel. That’ll then be attached to a drone and lifted into the sky and delivered to a selected delivery spot, likely within 15 minutes.

Gif showing someone ordering ice cream from Doordash Air, then marking a delivery spot for the drone to drop it off at.
The process of ordering a Wing delivery through the DoorDash app.
Gif: Google

Wing’s current workhorse is capable of carrying around 2.5 pounds, or around 1.1 kilograms (though the company is working on models designed for heavier and lighter loads). For reference, that means it should be able to carry a Big Mac, McSpicy, and two large fries from Macca’s, though, at the moment, it seems like DoorDash is more focused on delivering “convenience and grocery items, pantry staples, snacks, and household essentials.” Its press release mentions specific bundles, such as Vegemite and butter, iced coffee, and corn chips and salsa.

It’s not the first time Alphabet is delivering goods with the drones. In 2019, it started doing public deliveries in Australia and has since expanded to Finland and the US. According to the company’s site, it’s made over 250,000 commercial deliveries, many of which have been in Logan. However, its partnerships have mainly been with individual stores, like Australian supermarket Coles or American pharmacy Walgreens — the DoorDash pilot is the first time people will be able to access Wing delivery through a third-party app.

That feels like a significant move for the service, as it’s a step toward expanding the variety of locations you can get Wing deliveries from. Alphabet notes this in its press release, saying that it sees the integration “as a logical step on this journey to make drone delivery a plug-and-play option for more businesses and consumers — no matter what app they use.”

While the deliveries are still mainly limited to specific neighborhoods (as is the case with other similar services; Walmart’s deliveries are limited to a 1.5-mile radius around select stores), it’s easy to imagine a future where this pilot has expanded to a lot of the areas that DoorDash services. While it’s unlikely that drones will ever fully replace human drivers — it just wouldn’t be realistic for them to carry your weekly grocery haul or dinner for a family of five — they could end up taking over the small errand market if Alphabet gets its way.