Google is testing unmanned drones to deliver anything from dog food to medicine. But it faces many challenges, including regulatory approval, before it can really fly. Fred Katayama reports.
Look out and look up, Jeff Bezos. Turns out your rival, Google, is also developing drones to deliver packages. "Could I order some dog food for my dogs, please?" As seen in this video demonstration, Google is testing its unmanned drones in Australia to deliver anything from dog food to medicine. Like the Ospreys used by the US military, Google's drones lift up vertically like a helicopter, then fly horizontally like a plane. They look a lot more like miniature planes than Amazon's sci-fi-ish robotic devices. Google says it'll be years before it creates a daily service with multiple vehicles making multiple deliveries. It faces multiple challenges, such as teaching the drones to navigate around each other, ensuring safety, cutting noise, and specifically dropping off goods to a spot the size of a doorstep. Another sky-high challenge: convincing regulators which severely limit commercial operations of drones. In February, the FAA stopped a Minnesota brewery from using drones to deliver beer to ice fishermen. Google says it has been updating the agency about its so-called "Project Wing." In the demo, its drone successfully delivers the food to the dog owner. But unless Google gets the blessing of regulators, the drone, the dollars and its dreams could turn into a dog that don't hunt.