Manna, an Irish drone start-up that plans to ship food by air, has struck a partnership with Qualcomm-backed networking company Cubic Telecom, according tomedia. On Thursday, local time, the two companies announced a three-year 5G network connection cooperation agreement at CES.
Cubic is known to provide services for automotive and IoT devices connected to mobile networks in 180 countries around the world. The deal with Manna means diners and restaurants will be able to calculate the location of the Italian meat sauce noodles in the air and the time it takes to deliver.
In fact, established giants like Amazon and Google and some start-ups want drones to fill the sky — delivering packages, dinners and even people — and some governments are already working on regulations to do so. However, there are many obstacles to social acceptance — such as noise from drone flights, potential privacy and security concerns.
Manna is understood to have already launched tests at Pontypool in Wales and plans to expand the test beyond the third quarter of this year, including three in Ireland and one in England. It also intends to enter the United States, but as things stand, Europe’s looser regulations make the region a priority for Manna.
While the urban environment offers a large number of potential customers for distribution and passenger services, Manna intends to focus on the suburbs, where landing areas are easier to reach.
Manna’s custom drones, using safety redundancy components highlighted by the aviation industry, will fly at 50 mph in the air at 200-300 feet above the ground and then deliver cargo at about 6×6 feet. Manna investigates the delivery area and uses computer vision technology to verify the delivery area before delivery, and returns to the restaurant if a drone is found to be in trouble.
Bobby Healy, Manna’s chief executive, says the delivery process doesn’t feel like it’s going to be abrupt, “you barely notice what we’re doing.”
The drones will fly directly from restaurants to destinations four miles away, carrying up to 4 pounds of cargo.
Each drone will be equipped with three battery boxes, and the restaurant can make it available for five deliveries in an hour, Healy said.
In addition, the CEO said, while the service doesn’t perform much better than cooking itself, it’s a step forward from using a car.