Google's Project Wing to deliver burritos to hungry students

Google Project Wing
In a test, a Google drone lowers a package to the ground in Queensland, Australia. Credit: Google

Technology has been responsible for some truly life-changing advancements. Electricity. The internal combustion engine. The internet.

But if you ask a hungry Virginia Tech student, she might say that all those pale in comparison to what will be happening on that campus in the coming weeks: drone-delivered burritos. That's right -- Google is teaming up with Chipotle to deliver piping hot burritos by drone. It doesn't get much better than this, folks.

In IT Blogwatch, we place an order.

Let's get right to the important stuff. Where can we get a burrito? Stephanie Condon gives us the background:

Google's Project Wing will test out delivering Chipotle burritos at Virginia Tech.
The temporary, experimental service will begin this month...With a human pilot standing by...the self-guided, unmanned aircrafts will take food from a Chipotle food truck to volunteer customers and lower it down with a winch.

So we just have to go to Virginia Tech and volunteer? No problem. But what is the motive behind this undertaking (besides getting tasty burritos into the hands of students)? Kurt Schlosser has the details:

The FAA-approved aimed at convincing the FAA that delivery drones can safely navigate the skies...and avoid running into each other -- dropping your pizza or burrito or future Amazon order of hair gel onto unsuspecting heads below.
Virginia Tech president Timothy Sands said...that the project is part of the school’s efforts to become a leader in new transportation technology.

But why burritos? Google X's Astro Teller explains the reasoning behind it:

Now, you might be wondering how we decided to deliver food...our goal is to maximize learning, and food delivery poses...operating challenges that few other testing scenarios have. A lunchtime rush of burrito orders will crank up the operational pressure of multiple orders coming in during a short period...We’ll...test how to package sensitive cargo and how well it endures the journey...In future tests, we could add a broader range of items, like drinks, which will push us to handle more weight, keep packages carefully balanced, and manage combinations of items on a single flight.

So, what is really important with this whole burrito/drone thing? Hannah Kuchler knows it all boils down to one thing:

You can get your burrito delivered by drone. But you still have to pay extra for guac.
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