By Margaret Stewart Nagle, Head of Global Policy and Government Affairs
With a new year on the horizon, demand for drone delivery has never been higher. Three in four shoppers are interested in saving time this holiday season with Wing’s fast-mile delivery, and major retailers like Walmart are integrating our technology to serve their current and future needs.
Today, we’re pleased to share another milestone in our ability to meet that growing demand. Thanks to a recent update to our FAA exemptions, we will be able to safely scale more effectively in the US—which means we can bring the benefits of drone delivery to more people, more quickly.
Wing drone delivery is designed to integrate with existing last-mile logistics services in urban and suburban areas. Our system is designed with safety at its core, allowing us to fly in complex environments while sharing the airspace. As part of sharing the airspace, we’ve built a robust approach that safely separates our on-demand flights in time and space from each other and other aircraft using layered mitigations both before and during flight.
Last week, the FAA approved Wing’s detect and avoid (DAA) approach for our beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations without visual observers through a summary grant, which will allow our drones to use Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast-based (ADS-B) DAA inside a major area of Dallas airspace where traditional aircraft are required to continually broadcast their position. While Wing has already been serving customers at a 6 mile radius from nests in Frisco, this summary grant enables us to move toward BVLOS operations without visual observers across Dallas and similar airspace surrounding other major US cities, adding to the momentum of the drone delivery industry at large.
Wing flies within underutilized airspace over populated areas and conducts comprehensive aviation community outreach, recognizing and working with other users of the surrounding airspace. Our holistic approach to BVLOS flight has been used for commercial deliveries on three continents for several years. It is grounded in avoiding potential conflict before flights ever take off and utilizes in-flight DAA to add an additional layer of safety. Wing has demonstrated the effectiveness and safety of this approach with operational flight data, extensive simulation, and flight test.
Overall, the FAA’s approval for DAA and recognition of broader strategic deconfliction and UTM applications will allow us to operate more efficiently and work toward scaled operations nationwide. Starting with communities across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, this action supports our path toward expanding our service across the US. Wing’s fast-mile drone delivery at scale could save the Dallas-Fort Worth community several millions of hours each year which would have otherwise been spent driving to the store or delivering packages on the road.
We look forward to continued partnership with the FAA, service to the greater Dallas community, and a new year of growth, progress, and fast-mile deliveries!