Alphabet’s drone delivery project may be in big trouble


it doesn’t sound like a fun time to be an experimental project at Alphabet or Google. Bloomberg is reporting that Alphabet is cutting even more loss-making fat, with the company having slowed funding way down on their Project Wing drone initiative.

Alphabet sits with Amazon as one of the only major players trying to get drone delivery off the ground, but apparently it hasn’t been easy going to date. It’s said that their biggest issue is bringing a commercial application to market, something that has been hampered by the FAA’s strict drone usage rules.

Project Wing thumb

They’ve even had to cut ties on a Starbucks partnership, and according to the source, Alphabet is readying a string of layoffs for the Project Wing team. This comes after the team lead left the company last month, a move which supposedly prompted a hiring freeze.

It’s tough to say why, exactly, Alphabet is making these moves and where they plan to go from here. Dave Vos’ supposed idea for Project Wing was for it to eventually evolve into a drone air-traffic control project that could help thousands of drones take to the skies in tandem for various reasons, including deliveries. This would be buoyed by new data collection efforts that would allow Google to build a model of flight usage data to perfect the system.

That’s an ambitious thought, and maybe Alphabet thought it was a bit too ambitious. Is the company seeking a change of leadership and strategy or are they outright shooting Vos’ original ideas down? Will they continue to pursue a future where drones deliver coffee to our doorsteps or do they just want to make a smart drone for your everyday consumer to enjoy? We can’t be sure, but we just hope that they remain involved in drones in some way from here on out, because if anyone has the clout and ideas to push this interesting technology forward, it’s Alphabet. And at the end of the day, I just want my burritos delivered by air, dammit.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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