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Alphabet's drone delivery service Wing to pilot in Finland

"If drones can fly here in Finland they can fly anywhere," the CEO of Google's sister company Wing said.

Drone kuljettaa pakettia
Wing drone carries a package. Image: Wing Finland

The drone delivery service firm Wing - owned by Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. - has plans to pilot its European service in Finland next spring. Finland will be the company's first foray into Europe.

Wing CEO James Burgess made the announcement at Slush, the startup and investor conference in Helsinki on Tuesday.

He said the company chose Finland because of its reputation around the world for rapidly embracing new technologies, as well as the local climate.

"If drones can fly here in Finland they can fly anywhere," Burgess said.

The company has already made test runs of its small, unmanned, multi-bladed copters in the south-central city of Tampere.

Burgess said it plans to start operations in the Helsinki region in spring of next year.

Wing's drones can carry loads up to 1.5 kg and are able to deliver consumer goods, food, medicine and other supplies "within minutes of ordering them."

The CEO said he wants to hear about what kinds of services people in Finland would like to see provided by Wing, adding that the company wants to build the service together with consumers.

If and when Wing launches the pilot programme in Helsinki, it won't be the first time a company has tested drones in the country. In 2015, Finland's postal service Posti trialled deliveries of packages using the autonomous flying devices.

Australian trial started in 2012

For the past six years Wing has been testing drones in Australia and has been reviewing the customer experience of drone deliveries in the country's southeastern region for the past one-and-a-half years.

Wing said that drone deliveries are a faster, more environmentally friendly and safer way of transporting goods than via land.

The firm said that in 60,000 flights over 18 months in Australia, drone emissions were 16-22 times lower than traditional vehicle deliveries on the roads, noting that the drones run on energy-efficient batteries.

The use of drones also helps reduce vehicle emissions and traffic on streets and highways, according to the company.

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