Web Summit has gone virtual this year, and I have to admit it’s rather impressive. While I miss the hustle and bustle of the RDS and have never made it to Lisbon, running from talk to talk without the sweat and panic of missing something has a certain draw to it. Today, Bobby Healy from Manna also demonstrated that a virtual event doesn’t have to be without wow factor as he demoed a real-time drone delivery in Galway to the Web Summit audience. I’ve said it a few times but, I got genuine Space X vibes from it.
What Is Manna?
Manna is officially described as Drone Delivery As A Service. This is business-speak meaning the company specialises is helping other businesses delivery stuff with drones. They supply the technology and facilitate the delivery of products for businesses to consumers. Surprisingly, a simple idea and the company also has a nice and simple mission too.
Make three-minute air delivery a very real thing.
Ok, so because we’re living in the future I’m saying that’s a simple concept. What many don’t know is that Manna is already delivering shopping from Tesco to the homes of people in Galway.
Drone Deliveries In Ireland
At Web Summit, Manna Founder and CEO, Bobby Healy, undertook an ambitious live demo of drone delivery. If you want to know just how efficient this method of delivery is, check out the time slot Bobby took. Ten minutes. Ten minutes to give a live demo of anything is brave, let along delivering some shopping to people miles away.
But that’s exactly what Bobby and Manna undertook at Web Summit.
Oranmore Galway Drone Deliveries
Manna Drone Delivery has been trialing drone deliveries in Oranmore, Galway. It was one of these deliveries that we got to tag along for.
Customers in the area can have products from a range of retailers delivered by drone. Shops like Tesco, Thomas and Co, Banditos, Giovanni’s, Supermacs, Brazo Coffee Academy and the Oranmore Pharmacy can all deliver items to customers within three minutes of orders being ready.
How Does Drone Delivery Work?
First things first. The idea here is that Supermacs can receive your order, prep the food and from the point, deliver it to you fresh. The idea is not just speed, but the quality of what gets delivered. Trust me, as a man who likes his takeaways not dripping in its own steam, this is valuable.
Whether it be the restaurant or a shadow kitchen, the drone is loaded with the customer order. The drone already knows the mission, but the packer confirms to ensure the right order goes to the right place.
Next up the drone zips of to the delivery location, arriving within three minutes. It hovers and notifies the customer it’s ready. Once acknowledged, the goods are lowered with a biodegradable line which disconnects before the drone returns to base.
It’s worth noting that during the trials, the Irish Aviation Authority requires that a spotter oversees the delivery. This is just for the trial period and won’t be a requirement once Manna starts rolling out nationwide.
Will Drone Delivery Go Main Stream?
This has to be a yes. There are plenty of barriers to overcome, but delivery by drone has one massive ace up its sleeve: it makes sense.
Drones can’t really deliver in cities, but that’s not what they’re aiming to replace. Instead, drones can take on deliveries in areas not normally serviced by the likes of Just Eat or Deliveroo. Drones take to the skies instead of putting more cyclists in danger. Drones don’t suffer from traffic issues which leads to slow deliveries and cold food. The year that was 2020 showed us how a pandemic can change life as we know it, leaving many leaning on Gardai to deliver prescriptions.
I was already pretty excited about the fact drone deliveries were becoming a reality but seeing the demo at Web Summit made me realise how useful and how real this is all getting. As a voice-over during the demo said “one minute to delivery” I couldn’t help but make comparisons with Space X re-landing their own rockets. This is truly incredible technology which confirms we are living in the future.
If you’re living in Oranmore or know someone who is, Manna gift vouchers will surely get people talking over either the Christmas or virtual Christmas table this year.