Google is planning on launching a service, literally, that will deliver items via flying drones. It is calling this Project Wing.
Technically this project will be run by the newly named holding company for Google, Alphabet.
Amazon is also working on a drone delivery service that it calls Prime Air. While this may have started earlier, the Alphabet version appears to be aiming high with a drone aviation control system planned too.
So what is there to know about Project Wing? When will it arrive, what will it deliver and who will be able to use it? We've laid it all out below and will be updating as more information becomes available.
Project Wing wants to change aviation
Alphabet's Project Wing is more than just creating drones that can make deliveries. It's about creating a new system of aviation control that will make that delivery method safe and efficient.
At the moment drones are getting into all sorts of trouble, being shot down from private land, attacked by animals and in one case shutting down power in hundreds of buildings after a crash. A system of control should help get over these issues, well maybe not the bird attacks.
The new drone air traffic control system will use cellular and internet technology to coordinate the vehicles at under 152 metres (500 feet). Project Wing has already conducted testing of this service with Nasa and is working with the Federal Aviation Authority to get this system up and running in 12 months.
Each drone can travel fast
Alphabet has already shown off its early stage Wing drones. According to tweets from the company these are able to cover five miles in just minutes.
The prototype models currently being tested are 1.5 metres wide and 0.8 metres tall. They use four propellers like a quad-copter and are shaped, you guessed it, like a big wing. In testing videos the Wing takes off vertically before levelling out when in full-speed forward motion.
To drop off packages, which appear small at this stage, it lowers them via a tether which recoils back up once the item is on the ground. Although in early testing videos these were simply dropped from a lower height.
Presumably these drone will be available to everyone but it's likely, based on testing in the outback of Australia, that it will appear in more rural areas first. These likely will have most need for it initially anyway.
Weather Alphabet will work with other services, like Amazon, or if it will simply offer delivery of items via Google's own shopping search is unclear.
Project wing should arrive by 2017
Alphabet's Project Wing leader David Vos has said the drones should be ready to start delivering packages by 2017.
He goes on to say that the drone registry, that works with the FAA, could be setup within 12 months.
Finally he points out that the Obama administration hopes to set a drone registry in place by 20 December. This would be a first step towards creating a system that allow for commercial drone delivery use, safely.