Manna.aero, which the company describes as “the world’s first aviation-grade B2B drone delivery ‘as-a-service’ company” has just raised about $5 million to get off the ground.
Founded in 2018 by Bobby Healy, former CTO of CarTrawler and Eland technologies, Manna is getting major buzz – both for the new funding, a major partnership, and a delivery methodology that saves a lot of time and solves a lot of problems.
Manna uses custom-designed drones to deliver food directly from restaurants and central kitchens to consumers’ homes. The food is packages and travels in the drone’s cargo bay – and is delivered by lowering the cargo package to the customer, rather than landing the drone. This avoids major issues – the last 50 feet being one of the most complex parts of the drone delivery process. The drone will ascend to 80 metres and fly at 80 kph – delivering within a neighborhood in less than 3 minutes. The company also says that the drone can deliver in all weathers – hail, rain or snow.
Manna’s drones also address some of the common community conccerns about drone delivery. In an op-ed published on Sifted, Healy says that Manna’s drones are first and foremost, safe: with a simple service envelope (2 kilos of food in a 2 km radius) and built in redundancies. In addition, the drones are quiet: no louder than the average conversation to a person on the ground.
Manna scored a major partnership in Ireland, signing an agreement with food delivery service Flipdish last summer. With this new funding, Manna hopes to be an emerging leader in the space – launching commercially in the U.S. and Europe in “early 2020.”
Food delivery is an important step in regularizing drone delivery. It’s an application that offers a huge opportunity to gather flight data, helping regulatory agencies make informed decisions – and it introduces a wider public to the beneficial aspects of drone technology. Even if that’s just a hot hamburger to start with.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.