Business

Farmer in world-first test for Google Drone

“It’s just amazing something like this has been tested in our own backyard,” says Neil Parfitt, a Loch Lomond resident who was the first in the world to receive a parcel delivered by a Google drone.
“It’s just amazing something like this has been tested in our own backyard,” says Neil Parfitt, a Loch Lomond resident who was the first in the world to receive a parcel delivered by a Google drone. Youtube

LOCH Lomond farmer Neil Parfitt has become the first person in the world to receive a delivery from a Google Drone.

The drone is one of the most technologically advanced Google projects that could see autonomous drones deliver anything from day-to-day items to life-saving medicines.

The very first delivery to Mr Parfitt simply carried dog food, a Cherry Ripe and a Crunchie bar but the star-struck local said he could see endless possibilities.

It all began when Brisbane-based Unmanned Systems Australia's company director Phil Swinsburg phoned a friend and asked to trial the drone on his property on behalf of Google.

It just so happened that friend was Mr Parfitt's next door neighbour.

"It was a huge operation," Mr Parfitt said.

"There was about 30 people from technicians to film crews and they were trying to simulate different scenarios.

"I couldn't believe it when someone said 'hey, you're the first person to ever receive a delivery from one of these things'."

Mr Parfitt said the drone wasn't overly large with a wing span of around a metre.

The drone wasn’t overly large with a wing span of around a metre.
The drone wasn’t overly large with a wing span of around a metre.

"It's battery operated and it hardly made any sound," he said.

"It was amazing how it just hovered and dropped off the parcel."

Mr Parfitt said he could see endless possibilities for the drone, including use in medical emergencies.

"If someone was stranded in bushland the drone could drop off a parcel of medicines or food," he said.

"The drone could also travel faster than a car so if there was a medical emergency it could be really handy.

"It's just amazing something like this has been tested in our own backyard."

Mr Parfitt, who has a background as an electronics technician, said he was able to look at Google's set up.

"It would be worth thousands of dollars," he said.

"It all seemed very basic."

A Google drone drops off a parcel to a Loch Lomond property.
A Google drone drops off a parcel to a Loch Lomond property.

The prototype drone used was a "tailsitter", which allowed for vertical take-offs and landings and high speeds during flight - up to about 90kmh.

Project Wing leader Nick Roy told metropolitan media that Mr Parfitt and other farmers in the area seemed "very comfortable" with the concept of delivery drones flying overhead.

Neil Parfitt watches the Google drone in action.
Neil Parfitt watches the Google drone in action.

"The novelty wasn't what everybody was responding to - it was the application, the delivery use case, that people seemed to really get," he said.

Mr Roy said the tailsitter drones, which were vertical during takeoff, landing and while hovering but travelled as speed horizontally like a "flying wing", had sophisticated sensors to allowed it to fly autonomously.

Power lines, flocking birds and incorrect co-ordinates, for example, would ultimately be detected by the drones and the necessary flight adjustments made.

"It's one thing to make a vehicle that, when operated by a person, can do a delivery," Mr Roy said.

"It's a very different and much harder thing to do - which no-one, including us, has done in a really robust way yet accomplished - is to make that happen autonomously in a very safe way."

Google X director Astro Teller said Project Wing's goal was ultimately to build a system for delivering small and medium sized packages within minutes to anyone, using self-flying vehicles.

Mr Teller said Google had big plans for Project Wing.

"Going forward, our aspiration is now to build out, start to test and eventually launch a real delivery service using self-flying vehicles," he said.

"We're trying to build towards a service and to ask along the way many questions about what people would want delivered and about what things they particularly like or are sensitive to in the delivery."

Topics:  editors picks games and gadgets technology



How to do Eat Street the right way

EVERYTHING you need to know to get the most out of your Eat Street experience and to avoid a food coma when you’re only one stall deep.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Science Festival seriously awesome

Don't miss the World Science Festival Brisbane!

CALLING everyone who wants to see something totally cool.

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Top five things to experience this summer in Brisbane

Tangalooma is amazing if you're keen for a dive, kayak or swim.

THIS summer get out and explore your capital city.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Community cervix announcement: New test will save lives

The new cervical screening test will be available for all Australian women aged 25 to 74 in late 2017.

CANCER Council Queensland has backed new cervical cancer screening.

Warwick student given 'herb grinder' as reward

Don't go jumping to conclusions.

A joint decision was made to confiscate the 'cool toy'.

Tony Abbott: Coalition in danger of becoming ‘Labor lite’

If only six members had changed their vote we would still have Tony Abbott as PM.

Abbott says he is disappointed and disillusioned with the government

Local Partners

Killarney tips record turnout for show

Utes, livestock, Lego and sunshine are tipped to attract a record crowd at the Killarney Show.


REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Collegians to kick off footy season next week

Collegians coaches (from left) Deb Scanlan, Garth Miller, Ben Brownlie, Matt Collins (U9 assistant), David Hallman, Kerry Scanlan, Josh Williams, Bob Bell, Craig Frattini and Scott Morton.

Plenty of experience in Collegians coaching ranks

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

GET a sneak peek at Green Day's American Idiot The Musical as we go behind the scenes to meet the stars at a QPAC rehearsal.

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Live performance of Sci-fi classic to open Science Festival

Qld Symphony Orchestra perform live to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Festival will host A Live Presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

LOVERS: Grant and Chris have been together for more than three years, and Chris' parents refuse to acknowledge their son's fiance.

Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Ipswich facing housing shortage: Property expert

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!