Delivery drone crashes into power lines, causes outage

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A transportation drone operated by Alphabet subsidiary Wing collapsed into powerfulness lines successful nan Australian municipality of Browns Plains yesterday, knocking retired powerfulness for much than 2,000 customers.

The drone, which was carrying an chartless payload, made what Wing described to Australian media arsenic a "precautionary controlled landing" that led it to "[come] to remainder connected an overhead powerfulness line." 

The unit who responded to nan incident, Energex spokesperson Danny Donald told The Age, they didn't moreover person to get nan drone down disconnected nan lines. "It landed connected apical of 11,000 volts and whilst it didn't return retired power, location was voltage search crossed nan drone and nan drone caught occurrence and fell to nan ground," Donald said. "So we didn't really person to get nan drone off, arsenic such." 

Energex, nan energy institution responsible for powerfulness successful nan region, said that location was nary imperishable harm to nan network, and truthful Wing wouldn't beryllium responsible for immoderate repairs. 

While 2,000 locals mislaid powerfulness for astir 45 minutes, an further 300 were near successful nan acheronian for 3 hours truthful Energex workers could beryllium judge location was nary harm to nan lines, Donald said. 

Another Wing ding

Wing began life arsenic a Google X task earlier being spun retired into its ain subsidiary earlier successful nan decade. It now operates successful Australia, Finland and nan United States, wherever tests person been tally successful Virginia and nan Dallas-Fort Worth metro area successful Texas. 

The Browns Plains outage is hardly nan first problem that Wing has had, particularly successful Australia, wherever residents of Canberra suburb Bonython ran nan task retired of municipality complete complaints that Wing's drones were loud capable to beryllium a nationalist nuisance. 

Wing continued to run successful Canberra aft leaving Bonython, but had to propulsion retired of different suburb aft ravens were spotted attacking a Wing drone during COVID-19 lockdowns. 

While Wing's drones don't look to person ever caused different powerfulness outage, hobby drones person been responsible for akin occurrences – for illustration successful 2017 erstwhile a quadcopter took retired powerfulness successful Google's location municipality of Mountain View, California, for adjacent to 3 hours aft crashing into a powerfulness statement and burning to a crisp. 

In that lawsuit a batch much harm occurred, pinch metropolis officials saying nan clang necessitated tens of thousands of dollars successful repairs. 

It's those sorts of incidents that Energex seems much concerned about, arsenic Donald said he'd ne'er seen a commercialized drone mishap for illustration nan Browns Plains one. What he has seen, he said, were a batch of powerfulness line-related accidents complete nan years involving toys. 

"Fifteen years ago, we asked group to beryllium observant if they were giving their children kites for Christmas and wherever they were flying them. Now we're asking parents to beryllium very observant pinch wherever their kids alert their drones," Donald said. ®