Google has been secretly trialling a variety of autonomous drones that it hopes might eventually be used to deliver food and medical aid to disaster zones.
The US company revealed details of what it calls Project Wing, which has included extensive research and development over the course of the past two years in remote areas of Australia.
The newly-designed drones of Project Wing have apparently been created by the same clandestine tech research arm, Google X, as has been working on driverless or self-driving cars in recent years.
"Even just a few of these [drones], being able to shuttle nearly continuously could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation," said Astro Teller, a captain at Moonshots, Google X's name for big-thinking projects.
"When you have a tool like this you can really allow the operators of those emergency services to add an entirely new dimension to the set of tools and solutions that they can think of," added Dave Voss, the incoming leader of Project Wing.