Irish restaurant chain Camile Thai is to begin trialling food delivered by drone in Dublin next month.
The chain has partnered with Manna Aero, a Dublin company pioneering the use of drones for delivering takeaways within a two-kilometre radius of their base.
Manna have been working with the Irish Aviation Authority for three years and they expect to receive permission to fly this month, which would allow them to proceed with live trials in March.
Brody Sweeney, the CEO and founder of Camile Thai, outlined the company’s plans at the recent UCC Commerce Society’s annual conference.
“We are the exclusive restaurant launch partners and we are starting live trials in Dublin in March,” Mr Sweeney said, adding that drone delivery would be offered from two sites in Ireland by the end of the year.
He said the system would allow users of the Camile Thai app to select drone delivery for their order and they would then be shown a satellite image of their home, overlaid with a grid allowing them to select the landing area, such as their driveway or back patio.
Mr Sweeney said drone deliveries would be faster than road vehicles and would be better for the environment.
“You can send a two-tonne car or send an electrically-operated drone. It’s got to be way better for the environment,” he said.
Manna CEO, Bobby Healy, said their drones will fly at an altitude of 80m and a speed of 80km/h and food would be delivered to their destination within three minutes.
“2020, for us, is going to be about showing everyone in Ireland what it looks like, and showing the world that we are the first to do it properly,” Mr Healy said.
Manna has raised $5m from venture capitalists and is one of a number of companies globally entering the drone delivery sector, including Amazon and Google.
Manna intends to have a fleet of 100 drones in the air by the end of the year.
“We are on the cusp of the fifth industrial revolution, powered by drones. Our intention is to make drone delivery as pervasive as running water,” Mr Healy said.