As Google joins the push for airborne deliveries, it seems only a matter of time before neighborhoods are buzzing with drones. Is that OK?
Last week Google revealed it has a secret drone delivery service in the works. Called Project Wing, it is the tech behemoth’s answer to another tech behemoth’s futuristic delivery service. Amazon’s Prime Air hopes to deliver 5-pound parcels, which make up more than 85 percent of its packages, via small unmanned aircraft flying 50 miles per hour to homeowners’ doors in 30 minutes.
The Google announcement comes as no surprise. When it acquired Nest this year, it became clear that Google wanted to make a big bet on the future of the connected home — meaning smart devices control the home. Now it’s taking that a step further and investing in smart devices that deliver goods to the home. Of course, there are first numerous legal hurdles to jump over, as the Federal Aviation Administration is attempting to tighten its grip on drone use. And Project Wing founder Nicholas Roy says in a video of test footage (below) that its drone product is years away. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos himself said in a now-famous 60 Minutes segment that drone delivery is five to seven years away at best, and more likely 10 to 15 years.
Already Hovering Around Homes and Building Sites
Homeowners and home professionals are already putting drones — and their attached high-definition cameras — to use with residential properties in a variety of ways. Professional photographers use drones to take aerial shots of homes and acreage for advertising and marketing materials. Architects use them to do site reconnaissance work for clients. And homeowners are taking them on as hobbies.
Martha Stewart has a drone. No, not a scone. A drone. The home-making doyenne recently took her thoughts toTime magazine’s website to explain just why she loves flying her drone so much. “Photographing my properties, a party, a hike in the mountains and a day at the beach,” she wrote of how she uses it. She’s even had drone shots taken of the expansive vegetable garden at her Bedford, New York, farm.
For the future of drone use around the home, the sky may be the limit. And with Amazon and now Google leading the charge, it appears it will be only a matter of time before drones around the home are an everyday thing.
Soellner also uses his drone to do site reconnaissance for his architecture firm. He takes the drone to large properties on which his clients want to design a home and takes hundreds of digital photographs, like the one seen here. He sends his drone up about 100 to 150 feet to record 10 to 15 minutes of video, rotating the camera 360 degrees to get a better perspective of the property. “It’s a view you can’t get any other way. It’s like you’re in a helicopter. It gives you an overall perspective of the land before building, and after building it helps you understand relationships with the real ground and other features,” Soellner says.
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