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Daily Authority: 🦅 Drone delivery ...delivers!

Keep reading for how physics might be broken and a new Wordle bot from the New York Times.
By
April 8, 2022
wing drone
Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

👋 Good morning! Nothing quite like a cozy sleep while there’s a bit of a storm outside, eh?

Delivering on a promise

A couple of days ago I linked to a paywalled piece about delivery drones: the short story being with the FAA on board through evolving (and less dense) regulation, deliveries by drone are picking up.

  • Drone deliveries were a sort of talking point in the mid-2010s. I think a lot of people either watched or heard about Amazon doing this via 60 Minutes in 2013, as promised packages would hit your door at rapid speed.
  • The Amazon Prime Air video, where the first full customer delivery happened in December 2016, which Jeff Bezos tweeted, was a big moment as well which felt like progress.
  • Then came the inevitable desert of drone deliveries: the hype was too big, things were slow. A 2019 pitch by Amazon executive Jeff Wilke said drone deliveries would happen “within months.”
  • A grim picture was painted by Wiredin 2021 about Amazon’s Prime Air struggles in the UK.

But things are happening:

  • The latest is that Wing, a real, active drone-delivery service that’s part of Alphabet and has been active in Australia and Finland, is launching a new run in the Dallas-Fort Worth area via Walgreens:
  • “Walgreens … will stage deliveries from a store parking lot in the town of Little Elm, Texas. Using Wing’s drone-delivery app, customers will be able to select from 100 items, including over-the-counter medicines and household essentials, a Walgreens spokesperson said.”
  • Deliveries are via a rope and hook system: The Wing drones speed along at 65mph, carrying up to 3.3 pounds of goods. A person attaches the delivery box to the drone hook, the drone reels it in, and then lowers packages to the ground for pickup in the same way.
  • It’s great that getting prescriptions, for example, can happen rapidly and easily, and pet prescriptions are possible via non-Walgreens options via Wing.
  • There’s a mention of getting ice cream too, which is true 2022 living.

Others:

  • The thing about drones is that they’re not really in cities, but more regional and rural areas, a reverse of usual tech trends.
  • The likes of Zipline have been buzzing in medicine to places like Kenya and North Carolina, vaccines to Ghana, and Walmart goods to Arkansas.
  • Manna does 2,000-3,000 daily flights in Ireland.
  • There’s plenty more, but the general sense is that there are a bunch of places where these drones are entirely normal.
  • But the FAA requires pilot oversight, and built-up cities aren’t part of operations yet, meaning the vast majority of people are wondering where their drones are at.

Roundup

🔜 The Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Fold 4 will keep side fingerprint scanners, as they should (Android Authority).

🔓 “We asked, you told us: Most of you are pirates sailing the high seas in 2022(Android Authority).

🔎 Google now lets you search for things you can’t describe — by starting with a picture, in a new beta (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple drops out of a privacy industry trade group because the “secretive group” had “weak privacy laws” (9to5Mac).

🤔 It seems Google Japan is getting apps ready to play IRL arcade claw games in Japan: prizes will be shipped and everything, but Google is limiting prizes including disallowing NFTs (Gizmodo).

👀 Watching the r/Place timelapse is like staring into the heart of Reddit (The Verge).

🔋 The Hummer EV is an electric truck for people who think EVs are stupid (Ars Technica).

🚚 Here’s a promise you can put limited faith in — Tesla’s Cybertruck will go on sale in 2023, says Elon Musk (Engadget).

📗 Visualizing the scale of the carbon removal problem(The Verge).

🚀 Netflix’s SpaceX documentary doesn’t tell the whole story (Wired). Also in SpaceX news: the SpaceX launch later today will have astronauts wearing brain-tracking helmets to study microgravity effects (CNET).

⚛ New Measurement for the W Boson: An elementary particle is way bigger than expected, putting it at odds with the Standard Model, though physicists advise “immense caution” before we run around tearing up everything we know (Gizmodo).

🤓 “Do glasses improve vision over time or will vision deteriorate over time? (r/askscience).

Friday Fun

Wordle game screenshot running on a Pixel 6 Pro with a lego player character
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

This is clever: The New York Times has a new WordleBot, which will give you some welcome feedback on your strategy/passive-aggressively insult your strategy.

  • The idea: “I’ll examine your puzzle and tell you what, if anything, I would have done differently.”
  • So in short, you complete the Wordle as you would normally, then open up the Wordle bot page for some feedback.
  • The people at Mashable are upset by this which I enjoy:
  • “My coworker, Mashable Australia editor Caitlin Welsh was equally offended by such a rigid approach to strategy, not because she made a bad guess, but because she did in fact have a strategy, and WordleBot was just too ignorant to see it. ‘Sorry WordleBot,’ she said, ‘my third guess today did exactly what I intended it to, which was confirm letter placement? It was not ‘wasted!’

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.