It feels like the stuff of legend: a place where you can summon anything you need, and it will descend from the heavens.
But that’s now a reality in one small town, where thousands of residents can summon groceries, takeaways, coronavirus test kits – even a hot cup of coffee – and get it all delivered to their doorstep by drone.
It’s a test of a service that could soon be coming to towns across the UK, and on Friday the Moran family showed how it works, settling down for a movie night after their snacks – popcorn, sweets, crisps and a salsa dip – had descended from the skies.
Oisin Moran, with his wife Sinead and their daughter Meabh, received a special movie night surprise from the Manna Drone Delivery service in Oranmore, Co GalwayInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The company is able to airlift 4.4lbs of cargo within a two mile radius using two drones
TV cameraman Oisin – who was joined by his wife Sinead and their seven-year-old daughter Meabh – told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It’s a brilliant service especially for elderly people and it’s been invaluable during lockdown when people didn’t, or couldn’t, go out.’
Start-up firm Manna – as in ‘from heaven’ – uses two drones to make up to 60 deliveries a day to the 10,000 residents of Oranmore, in the West of Ireland, from partners including Tesco, Just Eat, Samsung and Ben & Jerry’s. It has raised £18 million to expand the service into the UK, with plans for the rollout to start by the end of the year.
Residents use an app to order goods weighing up to 2kg (4.4lb), which are packed inside the hold of drones. The machines can reach 50mph and fly at around 200ft.
Customers can track the rather grandly titled ‘missions’ on their app, similar to following an Uber minicab, and because aviation rules currently restrict drones to a two-mile radius of their base – in this case the roof of the local Tesco – all orders arrive within three minutes.
Once at a customer’s home, the drone uses a sensor to find a suitable flat