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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Alphabet Inc. - parent company to Google - has pushed out two managers of Project Wing, its drone delivery initiative. The move casts "the program’s future in uncertainty," the story says, and marks just "the latest setback" for a program that has had its share of problems.

The story says that one of the issues facing Project Wing has been tension between the engineers and the marketing personnel. The marketing folks were pushing for commercial testing of the drones as soon as next year, but the engineers "wanted to delay to ensure the drones were reliable and safe." The engineers also disagreed with "the decision to deliver food to some faculty and students in a test at Virginia Tech in September," which they viewed more as publicity stunt than legitimate test.

One of the companies that had been talking to Project Wing managers about testing drone deliveries was Starbucks, but the Journal says that those talks "fell apart some time ago."

An Alphabet spokesman says that the company remains committed to Project Wing. The Journal writes that it remains possible that a test of the Project Wing drones in Ireland remains possible, though there is no timetable.
KC's View:
I'm pretty sure I'm with the engineers on this one. Going with a drone project too early, and suffering problems that inevitably will become fodder for public examination, can only hurt the evolution of the drone delivery trend.

When it comes to unmanned vehicles flying overhead in populated areas, "reliable and safe" sound like pretty good priorities.