Ireland is the next lucky country to get drone deliveries from Wing, the sibling company of Google.
Alphabet, the parent company of Wing, announced this week that Wing is set to conduct a small-scale demonstration of a drone delivery operation near Dublin, Ireland, sometime in the coming weeks.
The delivery is set to happen in Lusk, which is a community in Fingal, located 20 kilometers north of the city of Dublin. But unlike some of the flashy drone delivery launches that other companies have promised, Wing is keeping expectations relatively low.
“To be clear, this is a first small step for Wing in Ireland, and will look different from the commercial services we now operate in Finland, Australia and the United States,” Wing said in a statement. “We’re excited for the opportunity to demonstrate our technology and get feedback from the community.”
And Wing is taking small steps indeed. Later this week, Wing will host a public community meeting to get buy-in from neighbors. That meeting is set for Thursday, Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. at Lusk Community Cultural Centre, and Wing promises it will be “the first of many outreach events leading up to our service launch in Lusk.”
The growth of drone delivery in Ireland, and elsewhere in Europe
Europe has become a more popular spot for drone delivery as of late. Wing was also recently granted approvals in Finland, too. Since the approvals can be recognized across EASA Member States, they have been recognized by the Irish Aviation Authority.
The uptick in European drone delivery flights is perhaps unsurprising given the recent progress the European Union has made in developing drone regulations. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2019 published a lengthy rulebook that address both technical and operational requirements for drones, in it creating a complicated set of categories for drone operations, some of which have sub-categories. But despite the complications, the rules do define what and how drones need to operate legally. Among the biggest rules is that, beginning on the first day of 2024, drones will need a special class identification label to fly through Europe for most types of use cases.
Though, Ireland is no stranger to drone delivery. Ireland-based drone delivery company Manna launched in 2018 in a small village in Ireland, and has since raised over $35 million in venture capital funding. The company made a name for itself in the Emerald Isle primarily when it began delivering medicines and food in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wing’s leadership in drone delivery
Wing is certainly one of the biggest payers in the drone delivery space. In spring 2022, Wing marked 200,000 commercial drone deliveries. And earlier this month, Wing passed another six-figure milestone by completing its 300,000th delivery. Most of its delivery drone flights are happening in Australia, though it spent much of 2022 expanding in the U.S., including the implementation of drone flights near Dallas Texas to bring items purchased from Walgreens to residential homes via drone.
Wing’s biggest competition is largely considered to be California-based Zipline. Ironically, Zipline recently appointed its first ever Chief Business and Chief Financial Officer, Deepak Ahuja. One of Ahuja’s former resume items was working at CFO for Verily, another one of Wing’s sister companies.