Would you get a drone to deliver your coffee?

20 Sep 2023

Bobby Healy. Image: Manna

In the latest episode of For Tech’s Sake, Manna CEO Bobby Healy talks about the growth of the drone industry and why Ireland is a leader in the space.

What once seemed like a mode of delivery that belonged to futuristic movies and TV shows is now very much a part of our present-day skies.

Nowadays, drones are being used to deliver everything from coffees to light groceries, and it’s Ireland that is taking a strong lead in this area due to its regulation.

But while regulation can often be seen as a hurdle by innovative tech companies, it is the presence of such a strong regulatory system that attracts drone innovators to Ireland.

“If we were from Lithuania, Poland or wherever, as a company, Ireland would still be where we’d be operating because it’s got everything we need,” said Manna CEO and founder Bobby Healy in an interview with SiliconRepublic.com earlier this year.

In the latest episode of For Tech’s Sake, Healy came along to delve further into the process of creating a drone company and explained that he always has an eye on the next location for expansion.

“We’re building for worldwide scale,” he said. “We can improve the world by making it fast to move these things around.”

From pilot projects in Galway to now serving Balbriggan’s 35,000-strong community with plans for Blanchardstown next, Manna has expanded massively since it first started around five years ago. It even has its sights set on the US.

Healy said there’s plenty of opportunities to expand the use of drone delivery, but from his own perspective, the policing area is not one he’s interested in pursuing with Manna.

“While, yes, I love the idea of drones for policing, it’s not an area we want to get in on,” he said. “We’ve no surveillance technology, we’ve no customer data. When we fly across a community, we want the community to know that there’s nothing recorded.”

When it comes to drone taking on the ever-changing weather, Healy said it’s all about good engineering. “Rain is easy, it’s just about making sure everything is covered and coated,” he said. “Wind is difficult, not because of the controllability of the aircraft – you can fly in brutal weather with the type of design that we have – it’s about energy, it’s about how much energy do you need to fly into a strong headwind and get home safely with enough in the tank.”

Check out the full episode with Bobby Healy and subscribe for more.

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