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Alphabet and Walgreens Are Launching Drone Delivery in Frisco

Need some azithromycin pronto? Look! Up in the sky!
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Photo courtesy Wing

You know Alphabet as the parent company of Google. It also has a little outfit called Wing that is in the drone delivery business. Today Wing announced that it’ll be flying delivery drones from a Walgreens in Frisco. This will be the first major U.S. metro area, and the largest one in the world (according to Wing), to get residential drone delivery.

This news was embargoed until 9 a.m. today. I scheduled this post to go up at 8:59, which means I technically violated that embargo agreement. But it also means that FrontBurner broke this story. MUST CREDIT FRONTBURNER!

Here’s a drone video of the Wing drone that shows how the process works. And here’s what the company has to say for itself:

Today we’re unveiling a new model for drone delivery that will allow us to expand into densely-populated metropolitan areas in the United States.

Wing will stage delivery drones at retail locations; ready to fly directly to customers. The aircraft will arrive in small containers that serve as tiny hangars, allowing each store to quickly and easily deploy a small, dedicated fleet from its parking lot, on its roof, or in small spaces adjacent to the building.

When this model launches, Walgreens will be the first U.S. retailer to use this new approach. Walgreens team members will process orders and load packages onto the delivery drones, and Wing will oversee operation of the delivery service. Our first lightweight, co-located operation will be set up at a Dallas-Fort Worth area Walgreens store in its parking lot, serving parts of the city of Frisco and town of Little Elm.

In addition to the Walgreens store, Wing has teamed up with Hillwood to prepare a separate drone delivery facility within Frisco Station, an urban, mixed-used development located in Frisco. Hillwood has a long track record supporting forward-thinking, innovative transportation initiatives across the region, most notably at its AllianceTexas development and its designated Mobility Innovation Zone. We look forward to working with Hillwood as we deploy a facility at Frisco Station that has all the usual delivery capabilities, but will be dedicated to exploring new use cases, community demonstrations, school field trips and public tours.

Until now, this type of service in the United States has been limited to smaller towns, where land usage is less crowded and complex. Wing’s reliable aircraft and advanced flight planning and routing capabilities make it uniquely capable of operating a highly automated drone delivery service in more crowded, complex operating environments.

In preparation for this launch, we’ve been conducting test flights since June at Hillwood’s AllianceTexas Flight Test Center, a drone testing facility in Fort Worth. We’ll begin a small number of test flights next week in Frisco and Little Elm, and hope to set up delivery demonstrations to get feedback from the community in the coming weeks. In the coming months, we expect to launch a commercial service there that would be the first of its kind in a major U.S. metro.

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