At an old sand and gravel yard in an industrial area of north Canberra is the headquarters of a world first uncrewed aircraft company.
It's a riot of sound as yellow and white drones with a wingspan of one metre land and take off.
Inside an adjacent warehouse is a row of food trucks and pop-up shops. They're the different merchants who deliver with Wing.
"So this is what we call our nest," says Simon Rossi, General Manager of Wing. "You'll see that there's a lot of pads and fiducials that look like QR codes, that's to help guide the drones onto their charge pads."
Wing has trialled its drone delivery service in and around Canberra since 2017. In 2019 it set up a permanent operation based at the Mitchell nest, delivering to seven surrounding suburbs.
The service recently partnered with Coles.
The drones can carry up to about 1.5kg so are limited to smaller items. They can't deliver your weekly shop.
Simon says a litre of milk is the most common supermarket order through Wing.
"The seventh most sold item on Coles was eggs, which I think is a really interesting example. Eggs are very fragile, but people trust the system enough to put eggs in and that can be delivered safely."
But overall coffee is the most popular order - flat whites in particular.
"People like to have their coffee delivered quickly and the drones can deliver items as quick or quicker than probably any other mechanism.
"So hot items like coffee suit this type of delivery really well."
Once the human worker has clipped the package to the drone the process becomes automated.
"For all intents and purposes, the drone flies itself, it maps its journey, and there's no intervention from pickup to delivery and then return," says Simon.
A team of trained pilots monitor the drones' missions as well as weather conditions and other aircraft.
Nationally there's one nest in Canberra and six that service the outskirts of Brisbane. Internationally Wing delivers in Helsinki, Finland and two locations in the United States.
Simon says Wing saw 600 percent growth in Australia last year, with 100,000 deliveries. In the first quarter of this year they've already seen 50,000 deliveries nationally.
"So I think the numbers speak for themselves in terms of the value consumers are finding with this service."
Harrison resident Ben Roberts orders a Kickstart Expresso coffee through Wing a few times a week when he works from home.
He says once it takes off from the nest, 5kms away, it gets to him in just three minutes, delivering him a hot coffee.
"It's pretty good quality. I'm like a coffee snob, and I think it's good."
Ben likes the convenience and says delivery drones are the future.
"I just think that it's inevitable as we move towards more flexible modes of living and different technologies. So I think it's pretty cool that it's been tested here."
But not everyone is as enthusiastic.
Rebecca Marks lives in Palmerston, a suburb over from Ben.
"I am initially from the country, I love the country lifestyle in Canberra, and I live next to a reserve. And that was a very deliberate decision.
"So to have drones flying over my house is really upsetting," she says.
Rebecca is worried the drones could affect her property value. She also has concerns about safety, privacy and how the drones impact wildlife. But the noise is her main complaint.
"So we can hear the drones inside our house, when the windows are closed and even when we have the TV on or if we're playing music, we can hear the drones."
Since Wing first came to Canberra the drones have been upgraded to be quieter.
Simon says the drones are quieter than a truck driving down the street.
"The volume of complaints to orders is minuscule. It's very, very few complaints. We take community feedback and complaints really seriously."
The drones actually exceed ACT residential noise restrictions, which are limited to 45 decibels during the day. That's quieter than your washing machine.
But Wing's drones have been granted noise approval to operate by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) - the federal governing body for all aircraft.
These noise approvals are granted on a case by case basis.
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In 2019, following community backlash of a drone trial in south Canberra, the ACT Legislative Assembly held an inquiry into drone delivery systems in the territory.
In the government's response to the inquiry it says the Commonwealth remains best placed to exercise exclusive legislative power over drones.
But it adds that drones aren't exempt from existing ACT laws including criminal laws, civil claims of trespass or nuisance, work health and safety obligations, and planning laws.
For the most part Wing operates outside ACT legislation and at a federal level the regulatory framework for delivery drones is a work in process. The department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is in the process of creating regulation for emerging aviation technologies.
Jake Goldenfein, senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne law school, says the current rules for drones only really apply to supervised remote-controlled hobby drones, in unpopulated areas.
"So in order to facilitate industrial drone applications that are working in an automated way in populated areas, the laws do need to change.
"But there's been a lot that's happened already towards that process."
It's companies like Wing that will help inform that regulatory framework.
Wing has worked with CASA to create an Uncrewed Traffic Management (UTM) system to work alongside traditional aviation providing flight-related data and regulatory information to ensure public safety through airspace compliance.
Wing also has a free app, OpenSky, which provides airspace information for hobbyists and remote-control drone users, such as when and where you can and can't fly.
Australia is just one of the countries where Wing is offering its services putting itself at the centre of the creation of a global UTM.
"There is a big economic interest in being one of those infrastructure providers that gets to shape the system, shape how the system works in ways that are congenial to a company's own business interests," says Jake.
Wing isn't charging delivery fees right now so its delivery business model isn't economically viable. But it's clear from its UTM involvement that Wing is not just a food delivery company.
"There's much more significant economic benefit from being the entrenched provider and running the infrastructure than there is from necessarily cashing out individual deliveries."
Simon says the goal for Wing is to expand its service across the country and world.
"We think that drone delivery is the safest, can be the most affordable, and the most convenient type of delivery."
He also points to the sustainability of the battery powered drones replacing petrol powered vehicles.
"And there's also a life enjoyment perspective, reduced [road traffic] congestion is a good thing for everyone."
The environmental and economic payouts of drone delivery are a while off at best.
But Wing isn't in the business of delivering coffee and banh mi, it's in the business of developing drone technology and infrastructure.
Whether Wing is the best placed to manage our skies is a question that will keep coming up.
And Canberra is at the centre of it all.
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