Up in the Air: Grocery Delivery Service by Drone

Up in the Air: Grocery Delivery Service by Drone

Grocery delivery service with the help of drones is closer than you think. Investor interest is increasing and funding for the air mobility industry has accelerated in recent months. In fact, the upswing has been so rapid that total disclosed investments exceeded US$8 billion at the end of March 2021. But what we can really expect from drones?

Drones are being deployed to improve crop yields, to help maintain critical infrastructure, and to efficiently deliver urgently needed goods like COVID-19 vaccines in some parts of the world. During the pandemic, the desire for no-touch delivery has grown rapidly, and improvements in drone payload capacity, flight time and safety have made aerial transport of goods a viable alternative to traditional ground transport. A recent global survey by McKinsey has shown that consumers are ready to take advantage of advanced air mobility, and groceries could become the most promising use case for instant delivery by drone. However, the survey also found that price and security are the most important considerations when respondents choose a particular delivery method.

Grocers have also recognised the growing interest and acceptance by customers. Tesco, Amazon and Walmart recently launched drone delivery programmes, shining a spotlight on a futuristic service that promises to speed up delivery times and ultimately cut costs.

With Greenman Partners’ investment last year in the Irish drone company Manna, Greenman is keeping a close eye on developments in the market and how they affect brick-and-mortar retail. Manna’s specially designed aerospace drones are already being used to deliver groceries and medicines to consumers’ homes by drone. The drones fly at an altitude of 80 metres and at a speed of over 80 km/h. They deliver goods up to 3 kg in a radius of 2 km in less than 3 minutes in suburban areas. A single worker operating multiple drones can make nearly 20 deliveries per hour – ten times what is possible with traditional street-based deliveries. The service is quieter, greener, faster, respects privacy and is safer than street-based alternatives.

The company is currently testing its service in Galway, Ireland and is the largest drone trial of its kind in the world. The Manna drone delivery trial makes use of bricks & mortar stores, with the products being fulfilled directly from the store. The operation supports more than 100 deliveries per day directly to the homes of the city’s nearly 10,000 residents and has been a huge success, with more than 30% of the population already using the high-speed service.

Find out more about drone delivery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAp0SoKn8oI&t=4s

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