Alphabet, the company that owns Google, has announced a big change for its little-known drone business.
Wing was launched by Alphabet as a way to revolutionise delivery services using drone technology. It has previously operated small trials in Canberra and Logan in Queensland.
However, a new partnership with retail property group, Vicinity Centres promises to provide shoppers with a greater range of products for drone delivery than ever before.
Wing is now able to deliver products directly from from retail shopping centre rooftops, directly to homes and businesses in southeast Queensland.
Participating businesses include food and beverage outlets, Sushi Hub, Boost Juice, and Chatime. From today, local community pharmacy TerryWhite Chemmart will also commence offering drone delivery of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, personal care, general health, and beauty products.
In the first six weeks of service, Wing made more than 2,500 contactless drone deliveries from Grand Plaza to customers in parts of the Logan suburbs of Regents Park, Heritage Park, Park Ridge, Browns Plains, Marsden, Crestmead, and Berrinba. The service will soon expand to more customers and offer delivery from other businesses located at the centre.
Last month, Wing marked two years of drone delivery service in Logan, having already made more than 50,000 drone deliveries to the local community in 2021. The introduction of this new delivery model follows expansion of the service earlier this year, with Wing now offering delivery to 19 suburbs in Logan with a combined population of more than 110,000 people.
“We’re delighted to explore this new model of delivery with Vicinity Centres. For the first time, we are co-locating our drones with businesses at their premises, rather than local businesses having to co-locate their goods with us at our delivery facility,” Jesse Suskin, Wing’s Head of Policy & Community Affairs, Australia, said.
“With the increase in consumers’ desire for convenience and speed, on-demand drone delivery can help address the costly last-mile delivery challenge, reduce road congestion and emissions, and create new economic opportunities for businesses by utilising their existing retail space as logistics hubs and fulfillment centres.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the team at Vicinity Centres to further develop new delivery models that can complement the retail businesses located at Grand Plaza, and if successful, potentially roll out similar models in other locations across Vicinity Centres’ retail property portfolio.”
Vicinity’s Chief Innovation and Information Officer, Justin Mills, said the Wing drone delivery pilot helped retailers unlock the value of their physical store to optimise omnichannel retail.
“The retail industry is changing, and Vicinity is employing a test and learn approach in areas critical to the role of Australian shopping centres in the future. We believe the partnership with Wing will be an important component of our overall distribution and fulfillment strategy and support our new growth strategy,” said Mr Mills.
“Almost two thirds of Australia’s population live within 30 minutes of one of our 61 strategically located centres. This national footprint provides a strong foundation to implement our distribution and fulfilment strategy by rapidly scaling our drone delivery partnership with Wing and further developing our co-located logistics hubs and micro fulfillment centres.
“Exploring new technologies like drone delivery means our retailers may provide customers with game-changing product deliveries in minutes rather than days, while also reducing their carbon footprint.
“Our partnership with Wing is a natural extension of our distribution and fulfilment strategy which will help retailers use physical stores and our shopping centre network to get their products in customer hands quicker and more efficiently.”
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