Wing Autonomous Drone Delivering Walmart Package

The Year of Autonomous Drone Delivery

Shannon Nash, Chief Financial Officer, Wing, an Alphabet company joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy podcast to discuss Wing’s operations in the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) region and why 2024 is the year of autonomous drone delivery.

The conversation begins with Shannon discussing how Wing is approaching autonomy and how the service works. The most commonly delivered item is hot coffee. In Frisco, Texas through a partnership with Walmart, Wing is able to deliver hot coffee (without spilling it) to customers with-in five minutes.

Wing’s autonomous delivery drones have FAA approval to fly Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) enabling the company to scale the service.

In the Dallas Fort Worth area with Walmart we are able to go six miles from the location of the Walmart to the customer’s home.

– Shannon Nash

In the Dallas Fort Worth region, Wing is currently operating in two locations with Walmart — Frisco and Lewisville. These two strategic locations enables Wing to reach over 60,000 residences. In addition to these two locations, Wing will be expanding drone delivery operations with Walmart later this year in the DFW region. Wing and Walmart’s goal is to cover 75% of the DFW region with a drone delivery service.

Autonomy is one the keys to scaling in addition to fitting into the existing workflow of delivery.

When you introduce a service like Wing you want to make sure that you don’t disrupt those workflows.

– Shannon Nash

Workflow integration is clearly working as Wing has successfully completed over 350,000 deliveries across three continents to date. When Wing looks to launch service in a new city or region they engage with the local community to understand their needs, wants and desires and most importantly explain the service to them. They host events in the local community and bring the drones along for show and tell days, so when they launch commercial service there are no surprises.

We will continue as we expand to do that community outreach and really that community partnership.

– Shannon Nash

To scale, Wing is developing the Wing Delivery Network which will unlock efficiencies as the drones will not return to base, instead they will go to the next pickup location. When the network is up and operating, Wing will be able to increase deliveries beyond 1,000 packages a day.

Today, Wing drones can carry packages weighing up to 2.6 pounds and they recently announced a new drone known as the Big Box Plane that is capable of handling packages up to 5 pounds. These drones are capable of flying up to 65 mph.

Wrapping up the conversation, Shannon shares her vision for the future the future of Wing.

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Recorded on Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Wing parent Alphabet is a The Road to Autonomy Index component company