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Google looks to launch drone deliveries in 2017

A Project Wing delivery drone lowers a package to the ground in Queensland, Australia during a test flight.

Google

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a Google-driven drone. Sometime in 2017, Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company, aims to launch Project Wing, a package delivery system that uses self-flying drones.

Alphabet ran test flights for a prototype of the delivery drone in Queensland, Australia, where it delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, water, and dog treats to some Australian farmers, the company said.

The company is in discussions with the Federal Aviation Administration to set up an air traffic control system for drones that would fly at altitudes under 500 feet.

David Vos, who heads Project Wing, spoke about the plans at a conference on air traffic control near Washington D.C. this week.

"In response to an audience question, he said we hope we could be operating a delivery service with our Wing vehicles by 2017," Alphabet said in a statement.

This would be a new major step in seeing commercial drones flying through U.S. skies. Right now, the FAA allows hobbyists and model aircraft makers to fly drones, while restricting commercial drone use.

Project Wing is one of the centerpieces of Google's "X" lab, the division of the company which aims to spearhead new technological innovations.

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