SAN FRANCISCO – Google's secretive research laboratory is trying to build a fleet of drones designed to bypass earthbound traffic so packages can be delivered to people more quickly.
The ambitious program announced Thursday escalates Google's technological arms race with rival Amazon.com, which also is experimenting with self-flying vehicles to carry merchandise bought by customers of its online store.
Google Inc. has dubbed its effort "Project Wing." Although Google expects it to take several more years before its fleet of drones is fully operational, the company says test flights in Australia recently delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water to two farmers.
Project Wing is the latest venture to emerge from Google's "X'' lab, which also been working on self-driving cars and several other innovations.