Wing, a subsidiary of Google’s Alphabet launched it’s drone delivery service in Canberra back in 2019. This was perfect timing for it to take advantage of the upcoming surge of interest in contactless deliveries in the pandemic riddled hellscape of 2020 and 2021. Canberra has become known as ‘drone delivery capital of the world’ with over 50,000 completed orders since the beginning of this year. In September the company was excited to announce that it had hit 100k deliveries. “The growth is fast-paced: the second quarter of 2021 alone saw more drone deliveries than the entire previous year.”
It was only a matter of time though before the company would run into some trouble. Ravens in one suburb have begun attacking drones invading their turf as one video shows.
“We have identified some ravens demonstrating territorial behaviour in a small part of our delivery area in the suburb of Harrison,” a Wing spokeswoman told The Canberra Times. ” and we’ve asked local ornithological experts to investigate this further to ensure we continue to have minimal impact on birdlife.”
Wing’s drones can move at 110km/h, are around 1.5 metres in wingspan, and can carry up to 1.5 kg. Australia’s Ravens clock in at a wingspan of 100cm, and have a top speed of 80km/h. While they might be outclassed in almost every metric, this hasn’t stopped them from having a go at the lumbering invaders bearing coffee and snacks.
The spokesman stated that “Service will be temporarily paused for a small number of our customers in Harrison during this time.” This is a historic savage blow, as crows have now successfully cut off supply lines to the suburb, making it harder of customers to get their daily hit of caffeine and diabetes. We’ll have to wait and see whether the turf war escalates. It does appear that the attacks are aligning with their spring nesting season, so crows would be more territorial this time of year.
Drone pilots are generally recommended to move away from aggressive birds, but the autonomous drone delivery service doesn’t have much in the way of human oversight. The drones do have fail safes in case of bird strikes but still, this is a new issue that we’ll have to overcome, hopefully not at the expense of wildlife.