By the Blouin News Technology staff

Commercial drones in the spotlight, again

by in Enterprise Tech.

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

While the use of drones remains controversial in the military arena, their usage outside of war zones is being actively explored by tech giants such as Google and Amazon. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos rocked the boat last year when he revealed that Amazon was planning on exploring the use of drones for its e-commerce and delivery business. And now, Google’s elusive Google X lab — known for creating some of the most forward-thinking technology projects including the self-driving car, Google’s eyewear, a space elevator, and a hover board — has released information about its Project Wing.

The project is devoted to testing how well drones can carry goods over a certain distance. The Atlantic reports that Google X has been working on drone testing for two years, and has just completed a successful delivery of items including human food, pet food, cattle vaccines, water and radios to two farmers in Queensland, Australia.

The delivery was made earlier this month, and the project looks towards recording more successful runs using its 5-foot single-win prototype.

It’s important to keep in mind that the use of drones for commercial access is years away from being a reality in the U.S. But Google — as forward-thinking as it is — looks ahead to where this technology might be sanctioned by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. (Bezos is likely looking there as well, given the hype around Amazon’s future delivery service.) But it’s a project to keep an eye on, especially as more technology companies seek drone usage as a method through which to reach more customers.

On a slightly separate note, the Vice President of Google X lab has been tapped as a possible successor to current U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park. Megan Smith is being touted as a top candidate for the position after her impressive work with the secretive lab, and work with robotics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.