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Drones lead Ireland’s last-mile delivery revolution

Drones lead Ireland's last-mile delivery revolution
Drones lead Ireland's last-mile delivery revolution

Ireland is buzzing with drones as these aerial couriers revolutionize the traditional supply chain, particularly in the food and beverage delivery sector. 

These drones offer a swift, secure, and silent service, and can cover a 5 kilometer radius in under three minutes. They are able to fly in 97% of Irish weather – a mix of heat, rain, and snow – and are designed to reduce the carbon footprint associated with last-mile deliveries.

Ireland’s drone delivery project

Since its inception in 2018, Manna Aero has clocked over 140,000 successful deliveries. The Dublin-based firm is currently in the final stretch of testing its next-gen drones in Blanchardstown, a densely populated Irish suburb. 

Coca-Cola HBC has now joined the project. Chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer Marcel Martin says the initiative is transforming the delivery of food and beverages in Europe, and soon, beyond. 

“The delivery drones [are] a perfect example of how partnership and innovation can help us reduce carbon emissions to reach our Net Zero by 40 goal and contribute to a better world.”

Meanwhile, Manna Aero’s CEO Bobby Healy says the venture with Coca-Cola HBC is crucial for ushering in a greener future. He believes his company’s drones can “play a significant role in the global effort to mitigate climate impacts.” 

Sky-high sustainability explained

Healy’s claim is supported by a study from Maynooth University which highlights that drone deliveries could be eight times more efficient in reducing CO2 emission when compared to their petrol-fueled vehicles. 

Healy explains: “The aircraft itself produces no CO2 when it flies because it’s an electric-powered aircraft. However, as people correctly point out, you still need to charge the battery. […] We’re less efficient than an electric bicycle but eight times more efficient than a small petrol car. 

“So we look at that electric bike and say, how can we do better than that electric bike? One of our flights takes 200-watt hours per flight of energy in the battery. The simple solution is we acquire green energy. So, we source our power for those batteries through green providers that use sustainable sources for power. 

“You end up with a zero CO2 footprint for drone delivery completely to zero CO2 footprints. Now you have to manufacture the aircraft, and that has a footprint to it. But one of our aircraft is used for 75,000 flights. That’s close to a thousand trees planted in its lifetime,” he says.

Taking to Texan skies

In other news, Manna Aero is branching into the US and will be operating from the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone where it joins drone delivery startups like Google’s Wing

The firm will roll out drone deliveries in one neighborhood for now: Pecan Square by Hillwood Communities in Northlake, a suburb north of Fort Worth. 

Here, residents have the opportunity to order “a range of food and beverages from both national and local retailers.” 

NOW READ: Amazon introduces 60-minute medicine drone delivery service

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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