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Irish drone firm Manna Aero

Irish drone firm Manna Aero

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Irish drone firm Manna Aero

UCD has been announced as the first area in Dublin to receive Europe's only fast food delivery service by drone next month.

The service will see Irish drone firm Manna Aero team up with Just Eat, Camile Thai and Ben & Jerrys for airborne food deliveries in under three minutes.

The food will be prepared in nearby ‘dark kitchens’ and flown to people’s homes. The drone will then hover above a pre-ordained space such as a back garden or driveway and lower the food by thread until it sets down.

"You'll open the app and, in the case of Camile Thai, it will offer for the food to be picked up by drone. If you order by drone it will be delivered in less than three minutes," said Bobby Healy, founder of Manna Aero, speaking to Independent.ie’s Big Tech Show podcast.

Mr Healy, the former chief technology officer of CarTrawler, said the Irish Aviation Authority has been supportive of the initiative.

"We're going to open it up to about 30,000 people to begin with," he said.

"What we expect to happen is that there'll be too much demand and so we'll have to restrict it in some way. But anyone who wants to see it can just come along and see it happening."

Mr Healy recently said he hoped to eventually scale to 50,000 delivery drones for the Irish and UK markets.

He said that the drones will be tough enough to fly through wind and rain and to withstand attempts at light vandalism.

"We want to literally transform marketplaces, economies and communities all over the world in a way that not just reduces our carbon footprint, but saves lives and creates jobs while doing so."

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According to the company, the airborne logistics platform 'in-a-box' will provide online meal ordering platforms, restaurant chains and dark kitchens with a three-minute delivery promise to their local communities for "a fraction" of the cost of road-based deliveries.

Manna Aero uses "custom-designed aviation-grade drones" built in Europe and the US.

The drone fleet is operated directly from the restaurant or 'dark kitchen' premises and is accessible to food tech providers and online food platforms in a "channel-agnostic manner", the company says.

It recently received €4.7m in funding from Dynamo Ventures, a company that specialises in supply chain and logistics firms.


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