Did you know that Alphabet's drone division, Project Wing, had teamed up with Starbucks with the goal of delivering the chain's products to customers by drone? Well, it seems the nascent partnership just couldn't get off the ground as Bloomberg reports that the companies will go their separate ways. Sorry, no drone deliveries of pumpkin spice lattes are in your near future.
What's more, the publication notes that the decision comes at a time when Alphabet has frozen Project Wing hiring and told some employees to find jobs elsewhere within the company. Basically, according to an internal source that spoke with the paper, Project Wing costs too much to operate and isn't generating any real money. Meanwhile, an Alphabet spokesperson says things are trucking along just fine.
"Project Wing has the potential to remove a big chunk of the friction in how physical things are moved around in the world," the spokesperson explained. "What we’re doing now is developing the next phase of our technology, and as always are thinking in a very broad way about all the potential use cases for delivery by unmanned aerial systems."
One of those potential use cases was demonstrated in September when Project Wing teamed up with Chipotle to deliver burritos via drone. With that example to look to, the idea of flying coffee beans through the sky didn't seem so far fetched. And indeed, it was not the delivery logistics — or even finances — that apparently tanked the Starbucks deal. Rather, the coffee chain reportedly refused Alphabet's demands regarding access to customer data.
San Franciscans hoping to have a robot deliver them frothy seasonal beverages will just have to look elsewhere, it seems.