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News Link • Drones

Toddler's Popsicle-by-Air Marks Milestone in U.S. Drone Delivery

•, Alan Levin

Just six minutes after a technician from Alphabet Inc.'s Wing clicked the "Confirm Order" button on a smartphone app, a drone operated by the company had flown from a simulated store more than a mile away, hovered over her lawn and lowered the ice cream and Popsicle she'd ordered.

"Airplane brought me a Popsicle," said towheaded Jack.

The Smiths were part of a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration-approved test that for the first time allowed delivery flights over congested areas where people live, and ventured beyond the view of its operator on the ground. It was the most realistic public demonstration to date in the U.S. that people may someday get near instant purchases sent to their home by unmanned devices.

"Today we're going to see what I've been preaching, how drones are going to change your daily experience," said Mark Blanks, director of the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and a sponsor of the test program. The delivery was to his next-door neighbor. "It works. I'm just excited to see deliveries in my neighborhood."

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