Last year, research lab Google X unmasked its plans for a futuristic drone delivery program called Project Wing. On Monday, the project got its first public timeline.
Dave Vos, an aerospace vet who leads Project Wing, spoke about the unmanned aircraft plans from Google X (now an Alphabet company). “Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017,” Vos reportedly said at a convention of aircraft controllers in Washington, D.C.
In a statement, a Google X rep confirmed the comments, while tempering them a bit — noting that the timeline is a “hope” rather than a pledge. From the rep: “The ATCA annual conference is a gathering of air traffic controllers and organizations who are interested in airspace management. Dave Vos was a keynote speaker, and in response to an audience question, he said we hope we could be operating a delivery service with our Wing vehicles by 2017.”
Google showed off the Wing aircrafts last month. The timing on getting them out for commercial use is largely out of Google’s hands, however. The company recently dodged potentially restrictive legislation in California, through its advocacy partners, but Federal rules are still pending.
Google’s not alone in the drone race. And its competitors — Amazon (which hasn’t announced a timeline for its launch), Alibaba and perhaps Walmart — have better track records at managing commerce and delivery logistics than Google. One person in the drone industry said that Project Wing is considering drone deliveries for businesses, rather than directly to consumers, which Amazon is pursuing.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.