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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/29/2014 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Secretive program called 'Project Wing' utilizes unmanned spy planes

The unquestioned leader of Internet search engines, Google, has branched off into a most unexpected venture. Google is now considering delivery with drone aircraft, running its first test flights earlier this month as part of "Project Wing," a secretive, two-year-old program exploring drone delivery.

Google engineers coupled with experts on unmanned aerial vehicles, called UAVs, safely carried out more than 30 test flights this month.

Google engineers coupled with experts on unmanned aerial vehicles, called UAVs, safely carried out more than 30 test flights this month.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/29/2014 (7 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Drone, Google, deliveries, safety, privacy


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) A lot of your other favorite Internet-based companies are joining the club. Amazon is trying it and UPS has considered it. But it is clearly Google who is leading the way in the delivery of the usually unarmed and unmanned spy planes.

Google engineers coupled with experts on unmanned aerial vehicles, called UAVs, safely carried out more than 30 test flights this month. Items that were delivered included chocolate bars, a water bottle, radios, a first aid kit, dog treats and a cattle vaccine one kilometer. The tests were conducted on a farm in Queensland, Australia, to avoid the FAA's strict guidelines that limit the use of UAVs in the United States.

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Google developed its own prototype hybrid drone with fixed wings and four rotors for the tests. Measuring 1.5 meters wide, the Google drone can soar as high as 60 meters, high enough to dodge houses and trees.

The aircraft has an exciting potential to revolutionize how goods are transported. In typical Google fashion, the company is presenting Project Wing as a way to make the world better, rather than to make a quick buck. An early goal of the program was to deliver defibrillators to heart attack victims.

Now Google imagines using the vehicles to deliver medicine and help the environment. UAVs can rise above traffic congestion, make a beeline for remote locations where roads are out as well as potentially cut down on pollution by replacing cars or trucks. In emergencies where regular routes are blocked, a drone could quickly ferry water and medicine to people in need.

"What excited us from the beginning was that if the right thing could find anybody just in the moment that they need it, the world might be a radically better place," lab director Astro Teller says.

However -- actual drone delivery, at least by Google, is still years off. The project's next goal is to determine if delivery by UAV is even viable. Safety features in order to handle potential problems like midair collisions and crashes will be addressed. It also wants to reduce the noise made by its drones and fine tune navigation features to address issues like privacy.

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