Drone Deliveries Coming to Canberra, But Not All Residents are Happy

Last year Reykjavik, Iceland became the first major urban area to authorize the use of regular drone deliveries.

In actuality, they are not technically deliveries as the drone operator in Iceland is currently only flying one route over water to connect two sides of the city.

But AHA, the marketplace operator using the drone wants to expand routes and wants to expand to deliveries.

Now it seems Canberra Australia is beating Reykjavik to the punch of becoming the first urban area to offer drone deliveries to a home.

Welcome Canberra Australia to Urban Drone Deliveries

Project Wing, which is part of Google’s X Moonshot project is within weeks of launching its first drone deliveries in Canberra.

The system, which has been tested in rural areas, will deploy shortly in the suburb of Bonython and is set to deliver anything from Mexican food to over-the-counter medicine.

Using Project Wing’s delivery app, early testers can order a range of food and convenience items and have them delivered by drone.

The trial is open to a limited number of households, and the company has a sign-up page for those interested in trialing this program as it expands.

Privacy Concerns Over Drones

With the imminent launch of the Bonython suburb drone project, some residents are expressing privacy concerns.

The drones flying over private property are filming the voyage, and the company is storing the information for 30 days on its servers.

Concerns now mount among residents that are beyond the safety issues of automated drones flying between trees and power lines about what the company is doing with the video, images, and data it collects.

According to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Australia does not have drone-specific privacy laws.

“You don’t own the airspace above your property, aircraft can fly above your house and so can drones,” Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) spokesman Peter Gibson said to ABC News Australia.

“In this case, they’ll be about 30 meters above the ground — quite a way up — so the privacy issues for this trial are really no different to an aircraft flying over.”

Project Wing promises the data collected is used for debugging purposes only and all data will be deleted after 30 days. Furthermore, the company said that all access to flight data is highly restricted to select personnel involved in the trial.

In a statement furnished to ABC News Australia, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner said any business that may collect personal information had to adhere to the Privacy Act.

“This would include giving notice to affected individuals about the collection of their personal information, only using and disclosing the personal information as permitted by the Privacy Act, and keeping it secure,” the statement read.

Project Wing hopes to alleviate any fears about privacy and safety of the drones and is starting small in the Bonython suburb, which is part of the Tuggeranong district.

The company plans to expand the drone delivery operation to the entire Tuggeranong district as the project evolves and shows its reliability.

Reykjavik may have the distinction of being the first regular use of drones in an urban area.

But Canberra may be the city that brings future commerce of urban area drone deliveries from the experimental stage to everyday real-world use.

What are your thoughts on this story about drone deliveries advancing further into urban areas? Head over to our Facebook Discussion Group or use the comments section below.

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