Frisco and Little Elm residents have enjoyed the ease of delivery drones through Wing's partnership with Walgreens. As of April, that service has expanded commercially to be the first launched drone delivery service in a major U.S. city.
The skies of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex (DFW) are buzzing with the future of customer fulfillment logistics. Using drones to distribute products is an increasingly popular delivery method, as it is much cheaper than traditional services.
Last fall, Wing, an on-demand drone delivery service, teamed up with DFW Walgreens stores in Frisco and Little Elm in the company's first pilot program in a large metropolitan area to bring DFW consumers into the future of automated delivery.
The World's First On-Demand Drone Delivery Service
Wing is a subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet, and is the world's first on-demand drone delivery service. The service is currently available on three continents, working with Main Street and global corporations "to deliver food, goods, medicine, and parcels via drone." The use of automated drones is the next iteration of customer fulfillment, following the strides of convenience that came with curbside and third-party delivery services.
As consumers value convenience more than ever, it's no surprise that Wing is not the only player in the game. Amazon and Walmart are working on similar programs and services to bring customer fulfillment logistics and automation together, further increasing convenience for consumers. By the end of 2022, eMarketer estimates there will be 24,000 delivery drones in service.
Drone Delivery in DFW
After a successful pilot, Wing officially launched the drone service on April 7, making the company the first-ever commercial drone delivery service in a major U.S. metropolitan area. Wing now commercially serves tens of thousands of suburban homes in Frisco and Little Elm.
Wing drones are already deployed at local Walgreens stores, with the addition of companies like Blue Bell Creameries, easyvet for pet prescriptions, and Texas Health. Residents can subscribe to Wing's newsletter on its website to stay updated on delivery schedules.
How Does Wing Drone Delivery Work?
First, consumers can use the Wing app on the App Store or Google Play to pick items eligible for delivery, then select where the drone will drop off the items around their house. In the case of Walgreens, its employees process the order as they would for curbside or delivery through a third party. However, instead of giving the order to a driver, Wing's autonomous drone flies from its home facility to the retail location. Once the drone arrives, Walgreen's employees hook the package onto the drone, and off it goes.
According to Wing's website, once the drone picks up the package, it will climb to a cruise height of 150 feet, arriving at the designated dropoff location within several minutes. As the drone arrives at the customer's location, the drone "slows down, hovers, descends to a delivery height of 23 feet above the ground, and then lowers the tether and automatically releases the package in the desired delivery area." No customer assistance is required in the final delivery process as the drone will automatically make the delivery and return to cruise height to return to the Wing facility.
The drones are currently designed to carry small packages weighing up to 2.6 pounds and have successfully delivered fresh foods, medicines, household items, and tools.
As the brand continues to innovate and scale, perhaps all Texas towns will see Wing drones delivering everyday goods soon.