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Thu, Mar 14, 2019

Australian Residents Pushing Back Against Drone Deliveries

Alphabet Planning To Launch The Service As Early As June Of This Year

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, hopes to launch a drone delivery service in Australia as early as this coming June, bringing coffee, food and medicine to residents of Canberra. But residents in Australia's capital city are raising concerns about safety, noise and privacy.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports that Project Wing concluded its trial program in Canberra's outskirts earlier this month. But residents of the small town of Bonython where the trials were conducted said that the aircraft had caused a great deal of concern, and admitted to police that if the government did not do something about them, they would shoot them down.

Neville Sheather is the leader of Bonython Against Drones. The group insists that no level of regulation will be adequate to protect the residents' privacy and safety, or address their concerns about noise. "It is not inevitable, if the Government can be convinced that the great majority of Canberrans don't want it," Sheather said.

Professor Roger Clarke, the former secretary of the Australian Internet Society who has consulted on several technology projects, says the government does not seem to be applying established processes for assessing new technologies when it comes to Project Wing. Environmental groups have also raised concerns about the effect the aircraft might have on wildlife.

Project Wing says it has worked to address concerns raised by residents of Bonython. Their latest variant of the delivery drone is said to be only half as loud as the first aircraft, and the sound has a lower pitch allowing it to more easily blend in with urban background noise.

There were no reported safety incidents related to the trial, according to the report, though Project Wing did receive several waivers from normal rules governing drone flights to conduct the testing.

(Image from Project Wing YouTube video)

FMI: Source report

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