In what it says is Australian first for a major supermarket, Coles will offer drone delivery for more than 250 of the most popular grocery items to some Canberra suburbs.
The supermarket is partnering with global on-demand drone delivery service Wing, which has been operating in the territory for several years.
It started with a trial in Bonython, where it received a mixed response with some residents angry at noise levels.
Wing later moved to a Mitchell base and was granted Civil Aviation Safety Authority for drone deliveries of food, hot coffee, chemist items and golf equipment to certain Gungahlin suburbs.
While they have proved increasingly popular during the pandemic lockdown last year, the overwhelming sentiment expressed to an Assembly inquiry found household delivery drones were an invasive, under-regulated technology whose potential benefits to the ACT would not outweigh the disturbance to the local community and environment.
The new pilot scheme will offer a selected range of items including bread, fresh produce, snacks, convenience meals, health care items, kitchen essentials and even toilet paper. There is no minimum spend and no delivery fee. Orders are limited to 1.5kg.
Wing is also expanding its delivery services to Kaleen and Giralang, in addition to Crace, Franklin, Harrison, Mitchell and Palmerston.
Customers can order via the Wing app and upon arrival, the drone will hover in the air and lower the package to the ground for a contactless delivery.
Coles chief executive of ecommerce Ben Hassing said drone delivery was the next evolution in delivery technology and would support Coles' ambition to be Australia's most sustainable supermarket by reducing the number of trucks on the road.
"We are passionate about finding innovative ways to help our customers to shop with us and we aim to deliver anytime, anywhere, anyhow shopping," Mr Hassing said.
Wing general manager Simon Rossi said the company was delighted to be teaming up with Coles.
"Whether you've run out of milk and eggs for breakfast, forgotten to pick up a loaf of bread for school lunches, or are just after a fresh 'grab and go' snack, customers in our delivery service area in Canberra can now get those urgent items they need in a hurry, delivered by drone," he said.
"In the last year we've seen a significant increase in use of our on-demand drone delivery service, with many customers finding the service especially useful as they stayed home, and relied on our contactless delivery service to deliver the items they needed. Wing made more than 100,000 deliveries in Australia in 2021, and strong demand for drone delivery has continued in 2022. Wing has already made more than 30,000 deliveries in Australia this year."
Wing operates 8am to 4.30pm on weekdays and Saturday and 9am to 4pm on Sundays. Customers can place a delivery during this time via the Wing app available to download on the App Store or Google Play.
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