Manna: Drone Delivery Made Easy
Deliveries have become the focal point of the pandemic. People turn to delivery services for their essential needs as they are advised to stay indoors. Manna has stepped up to revamp delivery services worldwide by using drones.
What Is Manna?
Manna Drone Delivery is an Irish start-up company established in 2018 by Bobby Healy, a technology entrepreneur. The company dubbed itself as the “most commercially progressed” drone delivery company. It also declared on its website that it would “completely replace road-based delivery.”
Under the Irish Aviation Authority’s regulations, Manna’s aviation-grade drones can fly at a speed of 80km/h. They can deliver up to 3kgs (6.5lbs) of groceries, takeaways, and medicines. The company estimates a three-minute delivery time within a three-kilometers radius. The drones travel at around 50 to 80 meters above ground and drop down to 15 meters for the package.
A sole employee can operate several uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. The employee can deliver up to 20 packages an hour.
The Future of Delivery Service
The company has been tinkering with the delivery aspect of drones since 2019. It was not until October 2020 that it enabled its drone delivery services in Oranmore, Co Galway. Manna first offered its services to Tesco.
The UK’s leading retailer has set up a website dedicated to having their customer’s groceries delivered by drones. Once the order is placed, a Tesco employee will prepare it and hand it over to a drone. A Manna drone supervisor operates the drone.
The local’s apprehension was the main obstacle of the company when it started its trial in Oranmore. However, residents had warmed up to the drone delivery service.
Manna has also ventured out in food delivery services by partnering with Cubic Telecom in January of this year. The telecommunications company allocates its services to Manna to oversee its drone fleets. As of late, the drone delivery company has delivered Ben & Jerry ice creams, Thai food takeaways, and coffee to Oranmore residents.
Aside from Tesco and Cubic Telecom, Manna has partnered with Samsung Electronics in March 2021. Samsung Ireland took an innovative step in contactless deliveries of the latest Galaxy devices in the country. The partnership is the first of its kind within the global Samsung conglomerate. Samsung and Manna have started drone delivery in Oranmore and plan to expand this service nationwide.
Recently, the drone delivery company acquired a $25 million (€20.7 million) Series A funding from Draper Esprit, Team Europe and Manna’s existing investors, Dynamo Ventures, Atlantic Bridge, and Elsktone, also participated in this multi-million funding.
Manna plans to utilise the investment in expanding its service area to other parts of Europe. “From 2023 onwards, across Europe, we’ll be ready to enable businesses in suburban towns,” said Healy. This expansion is also pushing the company’s boundaries in terms of distance. They plan to bring products to customers with a distance of 50 kilometers within three minutes.
Healy declared that “there is a huge appetite for a greener, quieter, safer and faster delivery service.” That is why the company has voiced its interest in expanding to North America. This decision puts Manna against drone companies like Alphabet and Amazon.
As said by the CTO of Manna, Alan Hicks, “We recognise that the potential… of drone delivery is enormous.”. Although Manna is still in its infancy stage, its growth in the past months looks promising. As the world’s still battling a pandemic, drone delivery has ample time to grow.