Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Alphabet’s Wing spinoff is about to launch drone deliveries in Finland

December 5, 2018

Alphabet’s Wing spinoff is set to launch a drone delivery service in Helsinki, Finland’s capital, in spring next year, the company has announced. It will be its first operation in Europe.

The news: It will just be a small-scale trial, with the drones only able to carry packages weighing up to 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) on a round trip of up to 20 miles. Wing is pitching the drones as an environmentally friendly choice, claiming they have a carbon footprint less than a 20th that of traditional deliveries. Wing graduated from Google’s X division in July to become a separate company, after six years of development.

Drone delivery: Wing is asking Finnish would-be users what they would like to have delivered, with options including medicine, groceries, and lunch. It obviously sees Finland's interesting weather as a good testing ground, too. “If our drones can deliver here, they can deliver anywhere,” Wing says. It has spent the last 18 months trialing drone deliveries in southeastern Australia, which poses fewer challenges in that department. 

Missed deadlines: Drone deliveries have proved a lot more challenging than techies had originally thought. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos promised drone deliveries within five years in December 2013, a deadline the company won’t meet.

However … Drones have taken off (sorry) in some other sectors. The UK’s national grid uses drones to inspect overhead lines, while Minnesota’s transport department is set to deploy them to examine bridges. The tech is also increasingly being used in construction, by emergency services, and for filming and photography.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.