Alphabet’s Irish drone delivery demo will take flight in Lusk

20 Oct 2022

A Wing delivery drone. Image: Wing

Wing said the ‘small-scale demonstration’ will be the company’s ‘first small step’ in Ireland – where it is set to compete with the likes of Manna.

Alphabet subsidiary Wing has confirmed Lusk as the location for its “small-scale demonstration of a drone delivery operation” in Ireland.

Last week, a Wing spokesperson told that it was planning a “limited” drone delivery demo in a community near Dublin after engaging in outreach with local stakeholders.

“We believe consultation with the local community before launching any sort of drone delivery service is important, and that process is underway now,” the spokesperson said at the time.

Now, Wing has confirmed that it has chosen the north Dublin area of Lusk as the site for the start of its operations in Ireland – albeit at a small scale.

“To be clear, this is a first small step for Wing in Ireland and will look different from the commercial services we now operate in Finland, Australia and the United States,” the company wrote in an announcement on its website today (20 October).

Lusk, which is about 20km north of Dublin city centre, is also close to Balbriggan – where Irish drone delivery company Manna is already running a pilot.

Margaret Nagle, head of policy, regulatory and community affairs at Wing, said that the company chose Ireland because of the support and experience of the Irish Aviation Authority and “the welcome Irish communities have given to new and innovative technologies”.

“Lusk is a community with a strong local spirit and growing population. Operating in this type of dynamic environment will allow Wing to hear from a wide range of people, so we can learn from local residents, improve and expand over time,” said Nagle.

She added that Ireland has been “a welcome home for drone technology in Europe” and a “great incubator” for innovation.

“The goal of this programme is to expand our European operations into Ireland, gain experience operating there, and begin the process of learning from the local community about the types of drone delivery services that would bring them the most value.”

Wing began in 2012 as a project at X, the experimental moonshot division of Google parent company Alphabet. The first real-world deliveries took place in 2014 and it went on to become an independent Alphabet business in 2018.

The company delivers a range of products such as medicine, food and books, completing its 300,000th delivery earlier this month.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic