Wing Drone Delivery Moving in on Ireland and “Bobby Healy’s Manor”

Sur­pris­ing news from the Irish media out­let, independent.ie, today that U.S‑based drone deliv­ery com­pa­ny, Wing, is launch­ing tri­als next month close to Dublin. Ireland’s drone indus­try is syn­ony­mous with Bob­by Healy and Man­na Aero, so this news must come as a bit of a shock to the Irish com­pa­ny.

In a state­ment, Wing told the Inde­pen­dent that the tri­al would be “in a com­mu­ni­ty near Dublin”. A spokesper­son explained, “We’re still work­ing through the prepa­ra­tions and believe con­sul­ta­tion with the local com­mu­ni­ty before launch­ing any sort of drone deliv­ery ser­vice is impor­tant, and that process is now under­way.” Adding, “We hope to have more to share soon, once we have more of those con­ver­sa­tions and can pro­ceed with input from the com­mu­ni­ty.”

Wing cur­rent­ly oper­ates in the US, Aus­tralia and Fin­land. It has made over 250,000 drone deliv­er­ies dur­ing the last four years.

A recent fea­ture from evtolinsights.com high­light­ed the present prob­lems Wing is fac­ing con­cern­ing its Aus­tralian tri­als includ­ing com­plaints from res­i­dents con­cern­ing the “whiny noise” emit­ted from the drones; craft being attacked by birds; and even a recent inci­dent when one flew into elec­tric­i­ty cables caus­ing local dis­rup­tion.

At present, drone deliv­er­ies in Ire­land can only be car­ried out with human observers for each flight, mak­ing them pro­hib­i­tive­ly expen­sive and restric­tive as a main­stream com­mer­cial ser­vice.

How­ev­er, new reg­u­la­tions across Europe next year will allow com­pa­nies to com­mer­cial­ly oper­ate drones Beyond Visu­al Line Of Sight (BVLOS), open­ing the door to com­pa­nies such as Wing to oper­ate with­out the restric­tion of human observers. Ire­land is ahead of the Euro­pean curve which makes the coun­try an obvi­ous choice for a deliv­ery drone out­sider. The spokesper­son con­tin­ued, “I do want to stress that we envi­sion this as a lim­it­ed demon­stra­tion out­side of Dublin, and that it will be a first step for Wing in Ire­land.

The spokesper­son con­tin­ued, “We’re encour­aged by the progress on drone reg­u­la­tions we’ve seen in the EU, and Ire­land has a strong drone eco-sys­tem that makes it an attrac­tive loca­tion for us. We’ve already begun the process of recruit­ing tal­ent in the area, and we’re excit­ed to join the thriv­ing drone com­mu­ni­ty there.”

Man­na Aero has com­plet­ed over 100,000 test flights in Ire­land begin­ning in Oran­more, Coun­ty Gal­way with a Tesco super­mar­ket col­lab­o­ra­tion. Last year, Man­na moved the tri­al oper­a­tion to Bal­brig­gan in Coun­ty Dublin, a town with a pop­u­la­tion of around 25,000 peo­ple and soon there are plans to expand these tests to an undis­closed larg­er sub­urb close to Dublin with a pop­u­lace of over 100,000.

An obvi­ous ques­tion: How will Bob­by Healy react to an out­sider encroach­ing on “his Manor”? For if the pro­posed Wing plan comes to fruition, both com­pa­nies will be in direct com­pe­ti­tion, in a sim­i­lar locale, at the same time.

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(News Source: https://www.independent.ie)

(Top image: Wing)

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