Drone Pioneer Wing Introduces a Larger Model for Scalable Deliveries Nationwide

Wing, a leader in aerial retail package deliveries, continues to surge to the forefront of the global drone industry.  Its latest innovation?  The introduction of a larger drone prototype that can deliver heavier packages and service multiple customers from a single point of origin, under the control of a remote pilot than can direct long-distance flights on a Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) basis.

Wing is one of the few drone companies that boasts an ability to operate at scale to make their aerial deliveries not only faster but also cheaper to customer and supplier alike. The new drone can handle a payload of up to 10 pounds compared to Wing’s small drones with a capacity of just 2.5 pounds. That means deliveries can be made to multiple customers in a single flight across 12 miles, with the drones flying at speeds up to 65 mph.

The new drone takes off and lands vertically but flies forward like a fixed wing aircraft.  But it’s still able to hover in place and gently lower its packages down on a metal cable to a designated landing zone adjacent to a customer’s property.

Wing first cut its teeth with tens of thousands of retail deliveries across Australia and New Zealand beginning in 2016.  The company built up a sterling track record that allowed it to win favor with the FAA, which last year granted Wing a BVLOS waiver that allowed the company to begin fleshing out its “Wing Delivery Network.”  For now the company still makes point-to-point deliveries with a single drone for individual suppliers like Walmart from its store outlets in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and for small grocery stores in Christiansburg, Virginia.

But, ultimately, Wing would like to become a completely autonomous delivery system that is available to multiple suppliers in the same area and that is sustained by a remote network of vertiports that allows Wing drones to fly in large fleets and recharge and relaunch in the field without returning to a single point of origin.

The new larger drone model is a near replica of Wing’s smaller models, with the same aircraft design, propulsion system and software, but enlarged in size with a stronger battery power to accommodate heavier cargo.  Wing says coordinating flights among the different sized drones will be close to seamless given their basic compatibility.

Wing came up with the idea for a larger drone after reviewing customer data that revealed that 70 percent of its orders were being delivered by one drone, while 30 percent were supplied by two.  In theory, adding a larger drone with more capacity will help Wing  accommodate customers that were previously ordering a large number of food and store items that required multiple drone deliveries.

“Think of it like how airlines operate different aircrafts for different routes: This new aircraft will streamline our deliveries of larger orders,”  Wing CEO Adam Woodworth said. “For example, you could order last minute ingredients for dinner — pasta, marinara sauce, parmesan cheese, canned olives and garlic.”

In addition to food and store deliveries, Wing is beginning to expand into the medical supply niche which requires a larger drone cargo capacity and increased speed of delivery, to support the transport of perishable packages of vaccines, blood plasma and even harvested human organs.  The company’s new drone prototype will be ideally suited for this purpose also.

Wing is also planning to expand its operations overseas. In addition to Australia and New Zealand, Wing has long operated in Finland.  The company is about to start medical supply operations in the suburbs surrounding Dublin, Ireland.  The company says it chose Ireland because of the eager support it received from the Irish Aviation Authority which also backs Manna, an Irish start-up that operates in the same area.

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