Ireland-based drone delivery company Manna is commencing its first U.S. trial for last-mile operations as it looks to expand globally, according to a March 16 release emailed to Supply Chain Dive.
Manna is teaming up with real estate development company Hillwood to offer delivery services to more than 10,000 residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, pending approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration, per the release.
The drones, which can travel roughly 60 kilometers per hour, are equipped to handle deliveries of up to 7 pounds across Hillwood’s 27,000-acre AllianceTexas community, which is home to 562 companies and Perot Field Fort Worth Alliance Airport (AFW).
The drone fleet, operated directly by Manna, is accessible via API to food tech providers and online food platforms, and offers deliveries for coffee, food, medical supplies and more. Customers can download, order and checkout through the Manna Drone Delivery app, according to the company’s website.
To date, Manna has raised more than $40 million. Investors include Coca-Cola HBC, the bottling partner of The Coca-Cola Company, which, over time, will “work to identify opportunities for Manna to scale across Coca-Cola HBC’s territories,” according to the release.
Companies have been implementing ambitious plans for drone delivery networks in the U.S. as they work to strengthen last-mile capabilities. California-based Zipline, for instance, recently announced plans for a home delivery service that utilizes a drone-droid combo. Wing, a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, is also building out its drone network, and expects to handle millions of packages by mid-2024.
Meanwhile, Walmart’s drone partnership with DroneUp has expanded to several states and completed more than 6,000 deliveries in 2022.