[LINK] Progress Report on Googong Wings

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Aug 7 08:16:48 AEST 2017

[Google Wings is piloting its delivery drones (in both senses of the word) at a small new residential area called Googong, outside Queanbeyan NSW:

A new article has been published, copy below.

[Here's my alternative report based on the evidence so far:

Official confirmation was provided today that the Google experiments with drones as urban delivery vehicles has been going pretty badly.

Google company Project Wing said that the most advanced testing with participants to date occurred in a low-density greenfields site 10km from the nearest town, the flight-path used was only 1km and affected only six households, and the reception by participants was at best lukewarm.

The usual safety-margins were reduced, but the drones were not permitted to fly within 15 metres of people or property.  This of course limits the scope for services to areas with no higher densities than 5-acre properties.

The company hopes to get approval to move beyond visual line of sight operation, which will reduce the number of warehouses needed in order to cover medium-density eastern Australia below the currently-estimated 200,000.

[Read on, and tell me whether you think I'm misinterpreting the data ...]

Google company Project Wing looking to expand testing in Canberra region
Elliot Williams
The Canberra Times
August 6 2017

Google sister company Project Wing is seeking approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to extend their approved testing distance within Australia.

The US company hope CASA will grant approval to fly beyond one kilometre and staff will search the region for a suitable new test site.

Project Wing just completed a two week test of their autonomous drone delivery system with the help of residents in Googong.

During the two week period the drones flew within one kilometre while always in a pilot's line of sight in case of emergency.

CASA's Peter Gibson said the main issue with granting further approval was the line of sight requirement. Basic drone regulations in Australia enforce a line of sight rule for all drone operators.

Commercial operators are able to seek approval to operate drones not in visual line of sight and CASA grants these on a case by case basis once risks are identified and mitigation strategies are in place.

Project Wing use the operator licence of Brisbane-based Unmanned Systems Australia and Mr Gibson said that CASA "look forward to assessing their application."

A spokeswoman for Project Wing said there would be no changes sought to the restrictions that their drones may not fly within 15 metres of people or property who provided consent.

James Ryan Burgess, Co-Lead of Project Wing, said before testing began that the company "want to give all our devotion and attention to this area".

He also signalled an intention to eventually test in Canberra but there has been no updates on a timeline for that.

Despite early concerns from some residents and Canberra Airport, the company are pleased with the outcome of the testing.

The spokeswoman said the residents involved in the test, which involved six households, provided valuable feedback that will shape the project moving forward.

"We're really grateful to the Fernleigh Park community for being so hospitable and giving their feedback," she said.

The most common feedback returned was that residents would find receiving meals and medicine via drones most useful.

There were also criticisms that the specially-designed packaging was too difficult to open and the smartphone app needed improvement.

This feedback has been delivered to engineers in California to be implemented in future tests. The company tests the technology daily at its facility in California's Central Valley, however the most advanced testing with participants occurred in Googong.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 6916                        http://about.me/roger.clarke
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law            University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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