Walgreens and Wing to test drone delivery in southwest Virginia

Walgreen and Wing will test airborne drones to deliver over-the-counter products to customers in a southwest Virginia town in October. (Wing)

Walgreens and Wing Aviation will test an on-demand airborne drone delivery service in Christiansburg, located in southwest Virginia, starting in October.

Wing, a member of the Alphabet family, was the first drone operator certified by the Federal Aviation Administration in April.

Eligible customers in Christiansburg, a town of more than 21,000 residents near Roanoke, Virginia, will be able to receive more than 100 Walgreen over-the-counter products via the drone service, according to a Walgreens press release. 

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Wing delivered Chipotle orders to nearby Virginia Tech staff and students in 2016. The eligible customers in the Walgreens test must also be FedEx Express customers who live within a designated delivery zone and opt-in to the Wing service. 

Wing has also announced a drone delivery service in two suburban areas of Logan, Australia, set to begin soon.

The drones will be used to deliver the goods within minutes. They have a 3.3-foot wingspan and weigh 10.6 pounds without a package. A typical payload can be about 3 pounds. Wing has conducted 80,000 test flights with its drones.

Techcrunch described a typical drone flight as lasting 10 minutes with the drone flying up to 70 mph and within a range of six miles each way.

The drones will hover and lower a tether to pick up a package, which is hooked onto the line by a human operator. The drone then winches the package up and secures it onto itself. At the other end, the drone lowers the package to a designated location.

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