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Google's secret drones unveiled

 

Google's delivery drone releasing a package [Photo courtesy of Google]

Google's delivery drone releasing a package [Photo courtesy of Google]

Google has been working on self-driving cars. That's only part of the story. The company has been researching on self-flying aircraft as well.

Project Wing, a drone-based delivery system, has been in development for two years, but was a secret until now, according to a BBC report on Thursday (August 28).

Google says its long-term goal is to develop drones that could be used for disaster relief. They could be used after earthquakes, floods, or extreme weather events to take small items such as medicines or batteries to people in areas that conventional vehicles cannot reach.

Project Wing's drones have a wingspan of approximately 1.5m and have four electrically-driven propellers. They are designed to take off or land without a runway, and can hold its position hovering in one spot.

Unlike many military drones which are often remotely piloted by the ground, Google's drones are pre-programmed with a destination, and then left to fly automatically.

Although with a primary goal on humanitarian aid, Project Wing could be used to deliver shopping items to consumers, according to Google. It is a use that retail giant Amazon has also been exploring with its proposed Prime Air service.

Project Wing is being developed at Google X, Google's secret lab which is the home to Google Glass and the company's driverless cars.

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