Supermarket giant Coles will begin delivering groceries to customers via drone from next month as part of a trial with the Alphabet subsidiary Wing.
The drone delivery trial in South East Queensland kicks off next Wednesday, November 2, and will cover the Gold Coast suburbs of Ormeau, Ormeau Hills, and Yatala with orders from the Coles store at Ormeau Village Shopping Centre.
The Wing drone has a wingspan of 1.3 metres, weighs about 5kg and travels at around 110km/h. The Google sibling business launched in Australia 2019 as the first place to test the viability of commercial drone delivery after five years of development. The two major trial sites have been Canberra and Logan in Queensland, delivering coffees, fast food and roast chickens.
Last year Wing hit 100,000 deliveries in total and described Logan as “the drone delivery capital of the world”, with around 5000 deliveries a week. Demand has continued to skyrocket with more than 120,000 deliveries made in Australia this year.
Coles began a trial of drone delivery in Canberra in March this year and more than 5,000 deliveries have been made through Wing, including fresh fruit, milk, bread, eggs, snacks, and cold drinks. The Gold Coast ‘store-to-door’ drone delivery will expand to include other nearby suburbs, delivering 500 grocery items including bread, fresh produce, convenience meals, snacks, health care items, and household essentials.
At the delivery destination, the drone descends to about 7 metres above ground, lowers the package to the ground on a tether and automatically releases it before returning to the Coles store, where a fleet of Wing drones are set up in the car park.
Coles head of network development and customer delivery James Geddes said they’re pleased to expand the drone delivery pilot program to Queensland.
“The service will provide a convenient and effective way of delivering everyday essentials to our customers’ homes in a matter of minutes,” he said.
“This new service reinforces our commitment to enhancing the way our customers shop with Coles by delivering anytime, anywhere, anyhow shopping, while supporting our ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket by continuing to reduce the number of trucks on the road.”
As part of the South East Queensland expansion, Wing will also offer Coles delivery from the rooftop of Grand Plaza in Logan, where it has been operating a drone delivery service for selected on-site businesses for nearly a year.
Wing Australia General Manager, Simon Rossi, said the company is investing in a range of pilot programs to enable drone delivery at scale.
“Since launching our drone delivery service in Logan a few years ago, we’ve heard from customers across South East Queensland who are keen to see drone delivery expand to their region,” he said,
“We’re delighted that through this pilot program with Coles, for the first time, drone delivery will be available to residents in the City of Gold Coast.”
Orders are made via the Wing app. Delivery from Coles in Ormeau will be available from 9am-4:30pm, Tuesday to Sunday.