Manna runs a drone delivery program in Galway, Ireland, with authorization to take it across the European Union. Upon reaching a customer’s home, a drone will scan the area with lidar and radar to find a safe spot, descend, drop off the product, and fly off for its next pick-up. Manna runs 2,000 to 3,000 flights per day with fully autonomous drones at 50 miles per hour.
Walmart and DroneUp, a global drone technology and services provider, have announced commercial drone delivery operations at three stores in Northwest Arkansas, operating from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days per week, to deliver items to eligible Walmart customers by air in as little as 30 minutes.
I first addressed the state of commercial drone delivery last year.
Meituan, a large online shopping, entertainment, and delivery platform in China, has been running a pilot program delivering food to Shenzhen, a city of nearly 20 million. The program is available to just seven neighborhoods and a select number of merchants, and the drones deliver to designated streetside kiosks. Over the past two years, Meituan has flown 19,000 meals to 8,000 customers.
Amazon’s drone efforts have suffered setbacks, including recent crashes and missed deadlines. However, Prime Air has committed to join Amazon’s sub-same day delivery by 2024.
FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., is teaming up with California-based Elroy Air, which is building an autonomous vertical take-off and landing aerial cargo system. FedEx Express will test Elroy Air’s Chaparral drones within FedEx’s middle-mile logistics operations, moving shipments between sortation locations autonomously.