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Customer needs are changing, so should drone designs

Customer needs are changing, so should drone designs
Customer needs are changing, so should drone designs

Wing has a new aircraft in its fleet to help expand its service as the ‘leader in residential drone delivery.’ Locate2u sat down with the drone delivery company to better understand how the new drone will improve customer service, change the logistics playfield, and provide faster deliveries. 

Wing takes on the entire cycle, from designing, manufacturing, and deploying drones to meet supermarkets’ needs for quicker customer delivery. In the last four years, they’ve completed 350,000 residential, on-demand deliveries to communities across three continents. 

Basically, it goes from the store to the customers’ backyard. No wonder successful brands like Coles, DoorDash, and Walmart have invested their trust in their delivery. One plane has serviced 70% of all US orders for drone delivery, and 30% of US orders are delivered with two Wing planes. 

Enter a new drone… It launched a new member of its fleet, which will change its capacity drastically. The drone provides faster deliveries, transports heavier loads – and ensures a happy customer.

Faster, heavier deliveries on demand

Customers’ delivery needs and how they spend their money online have changed, but why should the delivery methods stay the same? 

Wing’s new plane will carry more food, medicine, and household essentials. “Our customers will be able to bundle those orders better, and Wing will have a better capacity to deliver them in one fell swoop,” Wing CFO Shannon Nash tells Locate2uNews.

“Going into 2024, we will likely see an uptake in restaurants using drone delivery to feed their customer demand,” explains Nash. She says there is a growing trend beyond the holiday season that consumers want fast-mile delivery options.

According to an Attabotics report, 80% of retail executives see same-day delivery as a revenue-increasing strategy. 

Specs for the new Wing drone

The new Wing drone has a round-trip range of  20km and a package weight of 1.2kg. 

It uses a standardized delivery box that can carry more than the original drone. It’s for those quick orders like Nash explains: “It can carry pasta, marinara sauce, parmesan cheese, diapers, baby powder, Red Bull, and much more.”

As family setups change, residential layouts and office building infrastructure change, too. Navigating drones through tight spots could be tricky. But Wing says their drones are uniquely designed for “densely populated urban and suburban areas.”

Credit: wing.com

The flight navigation system plans routes, and the aircraft executes those delivery orders in real-time. 

The battery is designed to be recharged throughout the day and perform health checks automatically. There is no need for “hands-on human intervention.” 

There is an operator who “oversees an area of service simultaneously,” explains Nash. “This is one of the key elements to building a safe and scalable drone delivery system and performing successfully in an urban environment.

Expanding the delivery range

It’s simple: more drones means more business possibilities. “[It] will benefit not only customers but partners as well,” says Nash, explaining that expanding its capacity is on the cards. 

“[It will] allow [customers] to deliver more products from [our partners’] catalog than ever via drone thanks to larger box dimensions and drones that can carry a heavier payload.”

Improvements on the new drone include:

  • Deliver items in a standardized box.
  • More products can be delivered.
  • It is more efficient and sustainable. 
  • Creates an opportunity to partner with more retailers. 

The new aircraft will be in service next year. 

Future of last-mile: A Wing perspective

“There is an ever-growing demand from consumers for fast-mile delivery, especially when it comes to food,” says Nash. She backs it up with data from a recent survey they conducted, concluding that 74% of customers were interested in using fast-mile delivery to save time. This is especially true for last-minute groceries (43%) during the holiday season. Who has time to wait when you have a house full of guests?

Items like dinner rolls or eggs can be delivered to a customer’s backyard without anyone even noticing an ingredient was missing in the first place. Flying 104 km/h, Wing’s record for the fastest delivery per drone sits at an impressive 3 minutes. 

“This ever-growing demand also applies to retailers and restaurants as they increasingly recognize the benefits of fast and sustainable delivery options,” says Nash. 

Excited about the future of logistics, Nash says: “Last-mile logistics is an important place to invest, and we’re excited to see the industry continue to evolve based on partner and customer needs.”

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand. Do you have a story you would like her to expose, report on, or consider? Please send your request to Newsdesk@locate2u.com.

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