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Project Wing drones get boost from White House

Image: Project Wing drone
Members of the Project Wing team test automated flight in California. (Credit: Project Wing / X)

The White House says it’s taking steps to speed up the development of civil and commercial applications for drones – including the experimental deployment of Google’s Project Wing, a delivery service that could rival what Amazon has in mind.

Today’s announcement comes a week after Amazon indicated that it would be shifting the focus of its own drone delivery tests from the United States to Britain. Amazon Prime Air may benefit indirectly from the Project Wing experiment as well – but if there is any benefit, Project Wing will get it first.

The Project Wing study is just one of more than a dozen public-private initiatives announced today to coincide with a workshop on drones and the future of aviation, organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Another initiative opens the way for Bloodworks Northwest to deliver blood medicine and medical products to remote communities in the San Juan Islands via drones.

The White House said the National Science Foundation would set aside $35 million in funding over the next five years for research into how drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems, can be used to inspect infrastructure and farm fields, monitor the weather and respond to disasters.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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