Wing, a subsidiary of Google, resumes its drone delivery service in Australia after investigating repeated attacks from birds.
In late September 2021, several ‘dogfights’ were reported in Canberra between drones trying to deliver a cup of coffee or sushi, and an unkindness of ravens.
Concerned that the birds could be harmed in such an incident (and probably also worried that it could lead to the loss of some of its drones), Wing announced that it would temporarily suspend its services in the Australian capital while experts investigate.
“We’ve identified some birds in your area demonstrating territorial behaviors and swooping at moving objects,” Wing wrote in a letter to its customers. ”While this is common during nesting season, we are committed to being strong stewards of the environment, and would like to have ornithological experts investigate this further to ensure we continue to have minimal impact on birdlife in our service locations.”
Following a two-month investigation, local ornithologist Neil Hermes determined that the behavior of the ravens was natural as their nest was located near to the Wing customer. ”The birds were defending their young in their nest, during that time when their defensive reactions are at their peak, and it lasted about four or five weeks,” Hermes told ABC News.
Now that the chicks have flown the nest, the service should resume. Wing started live trials in Canberra in April 2019. A collaboration with the pharmacy store chain Walgreens in Dallas-Fort Worth area, Wing’s first step in the United States, should begin shortly. Hopefully, the local fauna will be more welcoming.