Google’s drone subsidiary Wing has officially completed the US’ first ever commercial drone delivery flight for Walgreens.
Wing, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has launched its first commercial pilot in partnership with the pharmacy giant in Christianburg, Virginia.
Walgreens has now become the first retailer in the US to deliver a package from “store to door” using a drone, having successfully delivered a “cough and cold pack” including Tylenol, cough drops, facial tissues, Emergen-C and bottled water on Friday.
This comes after Wing became the first company to secure approval from the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and the Department of Transportation to begin carrying out real deliveries to real people back in April.
By being granted the same certifications as smaller airlines, Wing is allowed to charge for deliveries of goods to clients in Virginia, where it is conducting its pilot.
The pair are working in conjunction with FedEx to carry out the pilot, offering FedEx Express customers within designated delivery zones the option to have more than 100 products delivered by drone.
Using the Wing app, customers can order one of six pre-made packs, including first aid, pain and kids’ snacks packs, or individual items.
“Walgreens continues to explore partnerships to transform and modernize our customer experience and we are proud to be the first retailer in the U.S. to offer an on-demand commercial drone delivery option with Wing,” Walgreen’s chief innovation officer Vish Sankaran said.
An estimated 78 per cent of US citizens live within five miles of a Walgreens store, meaning they are potentially in range of a Wing delivery drone should its programme be rolled out more widely.