Irish drone operator helps the isolating elderly

  • Tuesday 19, May 2020 03:56 PM
Sharjah24 – Reuters: Ireland's Manna Aero should have been dropping off its first takeaway orders around a Dublin university campus by drone in March but then the coronavirus pandemic shut the country and its pilot programme down.
Within a week, the drone company was testing out an entirely different concept - delivering medication and critical supplies to isolated elderly people whom the Irish government, like many others, had told to stay home to avoid infection.

Manna worked with Ireland's health service operator to test the service in Moneygall, the small midlands town best known for its ancestral links to former U.S. President Barack Obama, who visited in 2011.

After a number of weeks flying to and from residents' homes, the local pharmacy and convenience store - located at the Barack Obama Plaza motorway service station - Mana says it has proved the technology works.

With one drone capable of making 100 4-kilogramme deliveries a day, that could involve not only the 450 licensed drone pilots in Ireland but also the large number of pilots Ryanair and IAG-owned Aer Lingus have said they plan to let go as a result of the coronavirus disruption.