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Coles launches new drone delivery service in Queensland

Coles is launching a new drone delivery service in parts of the Gold Coast from next week.

The fast, flying, futuristic technology has been tested for more than a decade to safely carry essential items from store-to-door.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Coles launches drone delivery service in Queensland.

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Drones will be hovering above homes around Ormeau from November, with eggs, bread and milk in tow.

They can hold about 1kg of products packed inside a cardboard box, which they will lower on a tether from 7m in the air.

Drones from global drone delivery service Wing are currently sitting in a carpark-turned-airport, known as a “drone nest”, in Ormeau where they are ready to be loaded up and launched.

To use the service, customers download the Wing app on their phone, go to the digital Coles shopfront and select from about 500 grocery items.

The order is then sent to Coles Ormeau and, while the order is being picked and packed, the system begins planning the route.

It considers weather, other aircrafts in the vicinity, and potential obstructions at the delivery address – confirming this with the customer.

Then, the drone takes off, ascending to about 70m in the air before travelling to the destination at an approximate speed of 110km/h.

Once the products have been dropped off, the tether will recede, and the drone will make its way back home at the same speed.

From November 2, the free service will be available in southeast Queensland surburbs Ormeau, Ormeau Hill and Yatala.

The delivery drones will travel at 110km/h before hovering 7m above the delivery address and lowering the package on a tether. Credit: Wing

The drones are currently available to fly from 8.30am to 4.30pm from Monday to Friday.

The drones are not able to fly at night due to Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations.

But the drones do operate throughout all sorts of weather, rain or shine, Wing general manager Simon Rossi told Sunrise on Tuesday.

“It’s raining now and it’s a little bit windy, but we’ll be operational, or test flights, in about an hour,” Rossi said.

“The drones are designed lightweight and for maximum speed and sustainability in their delivery.”

The 1kg parcels are “best used for items you need in a hurry, and you want them quickly” such as “the bread for kids’ lunches”.

“Or, you’ve got friends coming around for lunch on Sunday, and you’ve forgotten the specific ingredient you need,” Rossi said.

Alcohol is not available via the delivery service.

The drones are currently parked in the drone nest in Coles Ormea, awaiting their first delivery orders in the area. Credit: Wing

Watch: Coles ‘Drone Delivery’ explained

Watch: Coles ‘Drone Delivery’ explained

The service is not expected to be free forever, with Rossi telling Sunrise that “at some point in the future we do expect that there will be a charge for the delivery”.

The company has spend 10 years researching and developing the technology “building these drone with safety in mind”.

Coles chief executive of ecommerce Ben Hassing said drone delivery was the next evolution in delivery technology and will reduce the number of trucks on the road.

Coles customers in Canberra were the first to trial the pilot program.

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