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Lockdown survival: medicine delivery trial by drone greenlighted for Offaly town


Bobby Healy, founder of Manna Aero

Bobby Healy, founder of Manna Aero

Bobby Healy, founder of Manna Aero

Medicine deliveries by drone have reportedly been greenlighted on a test basis by the Irish Aviation Authority.

The drone flights are to be undertaken by Manna Aero, the company that has promised to commence fast food deliveries using drones in Dublin’s UCD as a trial, before rolling the service out nationwide.

The deliveries are to take place in Moneygall, otherwise famous for claiming to be the ancestral village of former US president Barack Obama.

“It makes us very proud to be able to contribute to the Covid-19 effort in some small way and lift a few spirits while we do it,” said Bobby Healy, founder of Manna Aero.

The company said that it would be a “safe and zero human-contact” system of to effect deliveries “in ways normal delivery can't”.

The move was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The Irish Aviation Authority declined to comment.

Manna Aero is depending on the IAA to grant it permission for wider commercial drone flights.

The company must prove that its drones are safe to routinely fly over roads and residential areas.

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Its first mainstream trial with fast food delivery service Just Eat was to take place on March 18th on the campus of Dublin’s University College Dublin. However, the company had to postpone the launch due to coronavirus restrictions. It has promised to review a launch possibility later this month.

Commercial drone deliveries have been promised for almost a decade, but national and international regulators have been reluctant to give a green light at scale.

The Irish Aviation Authority has spoken positively of the concept in recent years, but has also sought to downplay it as an imminent feature of everyday life.

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