Flapping the Wings in Helsinki

Wing, the drone subsidiary of technology conglomerate Alphabet (whose companies include Google), has made a landing for the first time in Europe.

The small package delivery drone company, which made its name delivering food in Logan, Australia, have opened up operations in Helsinki, Finland, where they will be delivering food and consumer goods to customers around Columbus Shopping Centre in the Vuosaari area.

With a population of nearly 39,000, Vuosaari is an eastern district of Helsinki set along the Baltic Sea. That’s according to our quick google search. It is home to a popular golf course, and leafy parks with walking trails such as the Mustavuori Nature Preserve, along with sandy beaches like Aurinkolahti and Rastila. The area has hotels and campgrounds, plus a selection of shopping centres and laid-back restaurants.

And one of these centres, Columbus Shopping Centre, will now be home to a drone nest from where Wing’s drones will wait for orders.

“Our Vuosaari, Helsinki operations are underway at a new location for 2022 – the Columbus Shopping Centre,” Wing announced on Friday. “This is our second location for the store-to-door model and the first in Europe, following the success at Grand Plaza in Logan City, Australia.

“The concept co-locates our drone nest or nestlet with a store, making it possible to create a direct connection from the mall stores to a customer via drone delivery. In Vuosaari, partnering with Columbus will allow us to serve more customers, partner with more businesses, and increase our app offerings.

“With the move, our drones are now safely operating from a more densely populated, central urban area. Our nest is located on the top of the Columbus Shopping Centre parking structure, leveraging the lesser-used uncovered area and using only a few parking spots.

“We’re currently delivering food, sweets, and household goods to parts of the Vuosaari, Marjaniemi, and Puotila neighbourhoods in Helsinki. We’re also delivering to our world-first public Picnic Spots, located in Uutela canal, Lilla Kallvik, and Mustankivenpuisto parks, where customers can try our service even if they don’t live in the delivery area.”

Prospective customers can check the Wing drone delivery app, available on the Google Play Store and the App Store, to see if the areas they live in fall within the service area, or to order from a Picnic Spot.

At the time, the service will be open from Wednesday until Sunday for residential delivery, and Saturday to Sunday at the Picnic Spots.

We do not know if there are any angry birds nesting in Vuosaari, but we are delighted for another step taken towards the integration of drone technology into urban air mobility and we wish them all the success.


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