Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

Alphabet’s Wing to trial drone delivery service in Finland next year

Google Alphabet Inc’s drone delivery business Wing will launch its first European delivery service in Finland in the spring of 2019, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

A Wing delivery drone. Credit: Sean Davey.

Before Finland, Wing has run four separate trials over 18 months covering some 55,000 journeys in Australia (and 60,000 overall), delivering different things, including medicine and coffee, across a range of environments.

Wing became independent from Alphabet’s X research division in July t and is led by James Ryan Burgess.

Despite Wing being now a fully-formed company, however, it’s still not clear whether the operation will remain exclusively financed by Alphabet, or if external investment will be considered.

In an interview with TechCrunch, CEO James Ryan Burgess declined to comment on the funding but said that the shift to subsidiary “shows a lot of confidence in the drive forward. As a separate company, we will have to show business viability. And we are excited about the future.”

Burgess also added that drone deliveries would be also beneficial under a financial point of view, both for sellers and customers: “Today a recipient is charged a delivery fee, but so is the merchant,” he said — which is the typical business model for marketplaces like Amazon’s when it provides services like fulfilment.

“Our aim is to provide a service at a cost lower for both. We think single numbers of dollars will be the likely amount an order will cost when it is commercially live.”

The company is part of Alphabet’s Other Bets division, which already comprises cyber-security company Chronicle, self-driving car project Waymo, Loon that makes internet-delivery balloons and life sciences division Verily.

You can follow Wing Finland updates on the company’s official page here.

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