Oops! One Customer's Drone-Delivered Food Order Crashes, Causing Mass Blackout

Zinger Key Points
  • The drone, while in the midst of a delivery, performed a “precautionary controlled landing.”
  • This resulted in a fire that ultimately knocked out power to some 2,000 individuals for 45-minutes.

Talk about a hot meal.

A drone, while in the midst of delivering food to a customer, attempted a “precautionary controlled landing” in Brisbane, Australia, only to crash into overhead powerlines and erupt in flames. The incident left thousands of homes in the neighborhood without electricity.

What Happened: A drone from Wing, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, landed on top of 11,000 volts.

The crash caused a 45-minute power outage to some 2,000 individuals.

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"We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused. We’re currently conducting a review of yesterday’s event," a Wing spokesperson said.

Energy company Energex reacted to the event and shut down the network in order to bring it back online.

Why It Matters: Wing's drones can fly autonomously to carry food and beverages over short distances, usually taking less than 10 minutes, as both fixed-wing aircraft and hovering copters.

In Brisbane, where the accident occurred, Wing offers delivery to over 100,000 customers. As of this March, it had completed almost 200,000 such deliveries.

Wing also rolled out its commercial drone delivery program in Finland, as well as the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area of Texas, servicing tens of thousands of homes in Frisco and Little Elm.

According to the company, drone deliveries work best in suburban areas since they have a large number of consumers, good flying conditions, and are less well-served by delivery services than in urban areas.

The company beat competitors like Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, Walmart Inc. WMT, and even Domino’s Pizza Inc. DPZ to market, as these companies also have plans to launch commercial drone delivery services.

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