Alphabet-backed Wing to start medical drone deliveries in Dublin

16 Aug 2023

Image: Wing

In partnership with NHS drone delivery company Apian, Wing will create a ‘rapid medical delivery network’ in South Dublin later this year.

Wing, the drone delivery company owned by Google parent Alphabet, is teaming up with UK-based healthcare logistics company Apian to provide medical drone deliveries in Ireland.

In an announcement today (16 August), Wing’s chief financial officer Shannon Nash said that the two companies will work with hospitals and pharmacies in South Dublin to create a “rapid medical delivery network” over the coming months.

“This efficient network, leveraging Wing’s aircraft and automation, will serve to improve the patient experience while reducing traffic congestion and emissions in the community,” said Nash.

“We look forward to engaging with the local community and stakeholders as we develop the operations and begin flights.”

Apian was founded in 2020 by a team of doctors from the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. Its platform integrates healthcare and aviation systems to create a fully automated, on-demand delivery system that improves patient health outcomes and staff wellbeing.

Nash said that Wing drones can deliver pharmacy items, laboratory samples, medical devices and supplies “very quickly” in urban and suburban environments such as Dublin.

“Medical drone delivery can provide a faster, more reliable, lower-cost solution than ground-based alternatives,” she said.

“We aim to address speed, inefficiencies, and also environmental challenges by reducing vehicles on the road. Wing’s operations require very little infrastructure and can be set up in a range of spaces, making them suitable for a wide variety of healthcare facilities.”

Wing has had an Irish presence since last year, targeting the same market as Bobby Healy’s Manna Drone Delivery. Last October, Wing confirmed Dublin’s Lusk as the location for its “small-scale demonstration of a drone delivery operation” in Ireland.

The latest operation in South Dublin will be Wing’s second in Ireland. Nash said that Wing and Apian are also “exploring opportunities” in the UK as part of this partnership.

Last month, Healy told that he not only welcomes some competition from Wing, but also hails the company as “the gold standard in our industry”.

“They have a platform that’s way ahead of everyone, a team that has the ability and capital to really go forward and they’re ready to scale,” he said.

“They’ll be held back in the US, just because regulations aren’t there yet. But I think you can safely say that it will be Manna and Wing scaling in Europe in the not-too-distant future.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic