Alphabet’s Wing will kick off European drone trials in Finland in spring 2019, CEO James Burgess announced today onstage in Helsinki at Slush, one of the largest annual tech conferences held in northern Europe.
Planned trials in Finland’s capital city mark Wing’s first drone deliveries in Europe.
Flight trials with the Hummingbird drone are already underway near Tampere, a city roughly two hours north of Helsinki. Test trials will continue this winter to see how drones perform in cold conditions.
Rather than landing, Hummingbird drones lower packages to the ground using a string.
Exactly what cargo drones deliver in Finland has yet to be decided. Finnish citizens and businesses were invited to share their ideas for the service at wing.com/findland.
“We want to hear from the people of Helsinki and Finland what drone delivery can do for you,” Burgess said.
Wing trials have been underway in Australia since fall 2017, and more than 2,500 deliveries have been completed.
Drone delivery trials are the most recent technological advance to debut in Finland this week. On Monday, Rolls-Royce completed a demo of what it calls the world’s first fully autonomous passenger ferry.
Initially projects of the experimental “moonshot” division called Google X, Wing and internet balloon project Loon were both spun out in July as standalone businesses. Like Wing, Loon is also moving forward with commercial applications as it begins providing wireless internet to customers in Kenya.