Alphabet’s drone delivery service, Wing, has seen booming business in parts of Australia, but there has been an unforeseen complication: our volatile bird population.
Reports of Wing’s delivery drones being mercilessly attacked by ravens have caused the company to cease operations in parts of Canberra.
“We have identified some ravens demonstrating territorial behaviour in a small part of our delivery area in the suburb of Harrison, and we’ve asked local ornithological experts to investigate this further to ensure we continue to have minimal impact on birdlife,” a Wing spokeswoman told The Canberra Times.
“Service will be temporarily paused for a small number of our customers in Harrison during this time.”
You can check out one of these aerial raven vs drone battles on video here. Let me just say I would not be putting my odds on the drone.
Wing’s drone delivery service has been exceptionally popular during COVID lockdowns as Aussies look for easy and safe ways to get deliveries. Unfortunately, the NSW lockdown also coincides with spring.
Spring is prime nesting season in Australia, as many who have been swooped by magpies would know, and it seems only fair the drones get their share of attacks as well.
One witness told The Canberra Times that the birds have been getting better at mounting their attacks on the drones and it was only a matter of time before they took one down.
Wing drones offer quick aerial deliveries of hot coffee and meals from local restaurants and cafes. Wing is owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and currently only operates in three countries in the world.
In Australia, deliveries have quickly taken off in Canberra and Queensland, where Wing has made an estimated 50,000 deliveries to the Logan area since the start of the year.
With so many drones flying around, it’s no surprise the local ravens are feeling a bit territorial. It’s good to see Wing is taking the safety of the birds into account and the company has protocols in place for these incidents.
“In the unlikely event that a bird makes direct contact with our drone, we have multiple levels of redundancy built into our operations to ensure we can continue to fly safely,” a spokesperson told the ABC.
Ravens: 1, Drones: 0.