Hillwood has partnered with Wing—one of the first providers of drone delivery services in the country—to launch a first-of-its-kind commercial service in a major U.S. metro.
Wing will operate a drone delivery facility at Frisco Station in Dallas-Fort Worth with a small number of flights starting this week. The 242-acre mixed-used development in Frisco, which is adjacent to the Dallas Cowboys world corporate headquarters development, is a “smart” development built from the ground up using 5G technology.
In preparation since June, Wing has been testing flights at Hillwood’s Flight Test Center in AllianceTexas, a place for public and private stakeholders to commercialize urban air mobility and uncrewed aerial system solutions.
Wing is one of several entities currently operating there.
Wing, a sister company of Google, also recently announced its deal with Walgreens to operate an on-demand drone delivery service. North Texas cities Frisco and Little Elm are the first to get the service that can bring essential items straight to a customer’s door.
Exploring UAS use cases
Through the Wing-Hillwood collaboration, the mixed-use development in Frisco will also be used to research new use cases for the service. Wing also plans to use the site for community demonstrations, educational opportunities (like school field trips), and public tours.
“Hillwood’s AllianceTexas Flight Test Center provided a unique opportunity for us to conduct research and development efforts this summer, and now Frisco Station is an excellent spot for one of the first drone delivery facilities in a major U.S. metro,” Jonathan Bass, Wing’s head of marketing and communications, said in a statement. “We look forward to launching the commercial service here in the coming months, and to the continued partnership with Hillwood and Frisco Station.”
The Flight Test Center in Fort Worth is a component of the Mobility Innovation Zone, or “MIZ,” a digital and physical commercialization environment for partner companies that Hillwood opened in 2019.
A place for mobility visionaries
The MIZ was always meant to be a place for smart infrastructure to be developed and deployed, from autonomous cars and trucks to high-flying drones and air taxis. The “do tank” is just one part of Hillwood’s track record of supporting next-gen transportation technology initiatives across Dallas-Fort Worth.
“We’re excited to partner with Wing as a key operator at the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone and Frisco Station as they unveil the first commercial drone delivery facility in North Texas,” Mike Berry, president of Hillwood, said in a statement. “Hillwood has a long-standing history of successful public-private partnerships and deep-rooted experience in innovation, and today, those connections push forward the future of how goods and people move.”
Already established at the Miz are a number of innovative pioneers, such as Bell, TuSimple, Gatik, ITS ConGlobal, Phantom Auto, and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI).
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Last year, driverless tech startup TuSimple teamed up with Hillwood on a new trucking hub to support the company’s continued expansion into Texas. Earlier this year, Bell Textron, a Fort Worth-based aerospace manufacturer owned by Textron Inc, demonstrated a package delivery at the MIZ with an unmanned aircraft system.
And, in July, TTI announced it was conducting research, managing strategic initiatives, and serving as a think tank for new mobility opportunities at the MIZ.
Overall, the 27,000-acre AllianceTexas houses more than 533 companies, which have built more than 53 million square feet and created more than 63,000 jobs.
Drone photos courtesy of Wing.