Tesco to expand drone delivery trial

Tesco is set to quadruple the size of its ongoing drone delivery trial, according to sources reported by The Grocer.

The supermarket first launched the drone delivery service in the town of Oranmore in County Galway, Ireland, in October 2019.

The service will now be expanded to an undisclosed location with a population of 40,000 according to the sources.

Customers can order up to 700 products via a mobile app, which are then packaged by a Tesco employee and fulfilled by a supervised drone from Irish tech start-up Manna.

The news comes after Manna raised $25 million in a Series A funding round in April.

The service has so far delivered 10,000 items in the Irish town, and 35 per cent of the 3,000 homes in its 2km delivery radius have tried it according to the sources.

Deliveries are available between the hours of 9.30am and 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday, and they offer delivery times of between 30 minutes and one hour.

Manna claims a single employee operating multiple drones can fulfil almost 20 deliveries per hour, its drones make an average of 100 deliveries per day in Oranmore according to the sources.

There is an overall weight limit of 2kg for deliveries from the service and all items must “fit inside a shoebox”.

Many large organisations are exploring the potential of drone deliveries; Royal Mail announced in May that it would trial the first autonomous scheduled drone flights between the UK mainland and an island.

“The service is quieter, greener, faster, respects privacy and is safer than road-based alternatives,” said a Manna spokesperson to The Grocer.

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