This Drone Made the First Home Delivery in the United States
Wing's tether-toting drone delivered a winter vest to a retiree in Virginia and now its headed to the Air and Space Museum
August 5, 2020
On October 19, 2019 a hook made of yellow plastic gently lowered a cardboard parcel onto a lawn in western Virginia. At the other end of the tether, some 23 feet overhead buzzed drone A1229. When the package touched down the yellow hook released and ascended back into the sky, sending A1229 speeding off at more than 60 miles per hour, having completed the first-ever commercial drone delivery to a home in the United States.
Inside the package was a purple winter vest ordered online by Susie Sensmeier. At the time, the novel transit of the 81-year-old retiree's new vest seemed more like a milestone in modern convenience. But since that first delivery, the global pandemic has transformed deliveries by drone from a high-tech amenity into something that provides Sensmeier and her husband Paul with added safety. As the coronavirus continues to fester across the United States, the couple has taken advantage of their city's status as a testing ground for drone delivery company Wing to limit their contact with the outside world.
Drones designed and built by Wing, a subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, have been delivering everything from coffee to over-the-counter medications and even library books to residents of Christiansburg, Virginia, since Sensmeier's vest launched the company's test program in fall 2019.
Wing's drones don't land, so they only need an unobstructed area about the size of a picnic blanket to make a delivery. (Wing)