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Food delivery drones are annoying residents in Australia because…of course!




Food delivery drones operating in Canberra, Australia, are driving some locals to distraction with their high pitched buzzing noise.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that a trial of fast food deliveries had recently been launched in a suburb of Australia’s capital by a company called Wing. Wing is an initiative from Alphabet X, Google’s parent company. Anyone living within 6 miles (10 km) of a delivery base in Bonython, is now eligible to have certain types of fast food flown directly to their door.

The buzzing whir of UAVs in flight is part of why they were originally called drones – a homage to the buzzing noise bees make. From personal experience, it doesn’t take long flying your drone in close proximity to people to notice their annoyance. A short flight passed someone might elicit an interested glance, a long hover in close proximity to people is more likely to bring about annoyed glares.

The main complaints coming from residents in Bonython and surrounds are that the drones are noisy, scare away local bird life and are an invasion.

One resident, Irena, told the ABC that she would take her kids away from the house several hours a week, just to escape the noise.

“With the windows closed, even with double glazing, you can hear the drones,” she said.

The drones fly between the hours of 7 am and 4 pm but residents have complained that once they wake up, they cannot get back to sleep. 500 people have already signed a petition calling for the drones to be banned.

One campaigner against the drones said that 80 percent of people she had spoken to in her neighbourhood were against the drones and their number one concern was privacy. The drones have cameras that record their delivery routes and many people in the public feel uncomfortable with being recorded in their homes and streets. This concern might be for nothing because reportedly the drones are guided by GPS and do not have cameras attached.

With giant companies like Amazon, Uber and Hello Fresh investing and working towards mainstreaming of food delivery drones almost seem like an inevitability. The noise problem will have to be dealt with to avoid a larger backlash from the public.

Not everyone’s mad though

One resident interviewed by ABC, Jamie Hengst, said she regularly got food delivered by drones and loved it.

“We can get food that we can’t normally get in Tuggeranong delivered hot and fresh to us within 10 minutes, so honestly the little bit of noise you get for five minutes is totally worth it,” she said.

Wing is currently working on making their drones quieter. The trial in the neighbourhood of Bonython will run through til February when it will move on to another Canberra suburb, Mitchell. Let’s see how they like it.

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