This Irish startup is trying to totally change the way that you think about takeout.
Manna.aero, which the company describes as “the world’s first aviation-grade B2B drone delivery ‘as-a-service’ company” has just raised about $5 million to get off the ground.
Founded in 2018 by Bobby Healy, former CTO of CarTrawler and Eland technologies, Manna is getting major buzz – both for the new funding, a major partnership, and a delivery methodology that saves a lot of time and solves a lot of problems.
Manna uses custom-designed drones to deliver food directly from restaurants and central kitchens to consumers’ homes. The food is packages and travels in the drone’s cargo bay – and is delivered by lowering the cargo package to the customer, rather than landing the drone. This avoids major issues – the last 50 feet being one of the most complex parts of the drone delivery process. The drone will ascend to 80 metres and fly at 80 kph – delivering within a neighborhood in less than 3 minutes. The company also says that the drone can deliver in all weathers – hail, rain or snow.
Manna’s drones also address some of the common community conccerns about drone delivery. In an op-ed published on Sifted, Healy says that Manna’s drones are first and foremost, safe: with a simple service envelope (2 kilos of food in a 2 km radius) and built in redundancies. In addition, the drones are quiet: no louder than the average conversation to a person on the ground.
Manna scored a major partnership in Ireland, signing an agreement with food delivery service Flipdish last summer. With this new funding, Manna hopes to be an emerging leader in the space – launching commercially in the U.S. and Europe in “early 2020.”
Food delivery is an important step in regularizing drone delivery. It’s an application that offers a huge opportunity to gather flight data, helping regulatory agencies make informed decisions – and it introduces a wider public to the beneficial aspects of drone technology. Even if that’s just a hot hamburger to start with.