Tesco kicks off drone deliveries in Ireland

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Manna
Image: Manna

Related tags Tesco Technology

The supermarket has partnered with Irish start-up with Manna to introduce Ireland’s first grocery home shopping drone deliveries.

Tesco has launched its first grocery home shopping drone delivery trials, in partnership with Manna, the start-up which claims it is the world’s first aviation-grade business-to-business drone delivery platform. The trial, which will run for several months initially, will take place within a 2km range of the Tesco’s Oranmore store in County Galway.

The project is being led by Tesco’s Group Innovation Team, a newly established team looking at working with partners on disruptive innovation in the retail space. Tesco said it was working with Manna to explore how drones can be part of the solution to deliver on-demand small baskets to customers. Manna is operating as part of a trial and flight testing of a customer delivery drone service in the suburban community of Oranmore.

Catherine Swift, Store Manager, Tesco Oranmore. said: “We’re really excited about this partnership and delighted that our store in Oranmore is involved in this trial. We’re continually looking for new ways to serve our customers a little better and this trial is an opportunity to look at meeting demand for small basket shops and quick delivery. We’re looking forward to seeing how our customers in the Oranmore area respond to the service.”

Speaking on the trial, Manna's operations director, Denis Houston said: ​“It is incredible to work with an innovative partner like Tesco on this trial and to be able to provide this delivery service to the community of Oranmore. It’s fantastic to see how innovation and new technologies like this helps all the community, both customers and local retailers.”

How it works

Customers can order a delivery from Tesco by drone through a dedicated website, where an initial range of 700 products will be available. The order is picked by a Tesco colleague in-store and delivery is managed by a Manna drone supervisor. Customers can track their order in real-time and have their purchases within 30 minutes to one hour of ordering. Manna has a 3-minute delivery promise from once the items are loaded into the drone and users will be alerted when it is one minute away. 

Manna had originally planned to test its technology earlier this year by running a fast food delivery service in Dublin with Just Eat but this project was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak. It instead unveiled the world’s first drone delivery service to carry medicine and essential supplies to people forced to self-isolate in the pandemic.

Manna’s chief executive, Bobby Healy, said: “It's clear that drone delivery provides a faster, cleaner, safer, cheaper and higher quality alternative to road-based delivery. We are excited about how that will improve the world.”

He added “This technology will transform online food marketplaces, restaurants, dark kitchens, and communities globally.”

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