Wing CTO Adam Woodworth is one of the most influential aviation experts in the drone industry today – but very few people would recognize him. In a rare public appearance at this year’s SxSW conference, Woodworth talks about developing an aircraft that would allow millions of people to experience drone delivery in their daily lives.
Wing gave the world its first look at delivering drones to everyday people: delivering drugstore items, cupcakes, library books, coffee, and more to suburban homes. They have made their groundbreaking drone delivery programs in the US and Australia accessible to small local businesses alongside retail giants. The delivery of wing drones has benefited the communities where they work and the drone industry as they demonstrate safe solutions and customer requirements.
Disruption and delivery of drones
Adam Woodworth, Wing’s CTO, was instrumental in developing Wing’s aircraft and realizing the vision of drones as part of the supply chain in communities around the world. Woodworth doesn’t see the delivery of drones as an improvement in the supply chain – just to improve it.
“When working in technology, a lot of emphasis is placed on interference. How do we disrupt the current approach? And we usually find technical solutions that fundamentally change how it works, ”says Woodworth. “The delivery of drones offers the opportunity not to be so traditionally disruptive, but possibly to complement the existing solutions. Wing drones will never provide a couch. They won’t deliver a 50 pound bag of rice. But they will deliver small goods that would otherwise be carried around in a large car or van. And I think there is room in this industry so that complementary solutions can come together to solve a difficult problem together. “
Woodworth points out that drone delivery can be used to solve the unique problems faced by communities around the world.
“One of the most interesting questions I get is,” What’s in the box? “
The Wing delivery drone can hold a package weighing up to three pounds. Hence, what is in the box has provided a lot of very interesting answers. You get the more traditional things like coffee, prepared food, over-the-counter medications, all of those things that you normally associate with on-demand deliveries. But we’ve also seen people apply this unique way of moving goods to their own problems. In Virginia, we delivered library books for school children in the middle of COVID-19. In Finland we delivered Halloween candy. In Australia we even moved small building materials for people on a construction site. I think the most fascinating thing is that the answer to this question is user-centric. “
From the “what if”
Woodworth and Wing helped turn drone delivery from an idea to a reality: now they’re ready to see that reality expand. As the first recipient of an FAA Part 135 license to conduct commercial drone delivery in the U.S., Wing’s work has paved the way for the drone industry to exit testing in limited areas and undertake projects across the country.
“Where is the industry going, where is Wing going from here? We have answered some of the basic questions. This industry has moved out of the “what if” space. We’ve moved out of the realm of science fiction where all you really had was an idea of what the system could do. I think the technology is ready, the customers are ready, the world is ready for the next phase of aviation. “
Miriam McNabb is editor-in-chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a marketplace for professional drone services, and a fascinating observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Author of over 3,000 articles focusing on the commercial drone space, Miriam is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam graduated from the University of Chicago and has over 20 years experience in high-tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For advice or writing in the drone industry, email Miriam.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.