And Pigs Will Fly


Recent headlines and news reports about the launch of a drone food delivery service 

Next month a drone food delivery service will be launched at University College Dublin by Manna.

But not everyone is convinced…

Luke Nolan writes:

“Fake news has reached our shores with startling revelation that our Saturday night takeaways are to be delivered by none other than a drone.

To wake up this morning and have this as a headline on not one but two of my newspapers of choice had me panicking that I’d been in some kind of induced coma for a month and it was in fact April 1st.

Not only was a company claiming that this would become a reality in less than 3 months, but they were also boasting multi million investment and partners who were to be joined to this nonsensical idea.

Even RTE got in on the act, putting together a report on how it was all going to happen. As if they were under some kind of spell, neither RTE nor the national newspapers paused for a minute to ask the obvious question: how the hell could this ever work.

Why hasn’t someone grabbed hold of this like Marian Finucane did with Minister Joe Jacob when he came on daytime radio to explain how we’d all be saved by iodine tablets in the event of a nuclear war. Get a minute-by-minute explanation of how it’s supposed to work in real-life.

It’s Friday night and rather than cook, you decide to order from your local takeaway. I say ‘you’ in the singular form because the weight of more than one meal would have the arse of the drone dragging along the South Circular Road.

We’re led to believe that the meal will be cooked, placed in a box and then stowed in the drone which is then flown out the back of the takeaway arriving with the customer in less than three minutes.

Amazing, considering a scud missile being sent one side of Dublin to the other would take longer. Not to mention missing its target.

The drone is now taking off from somewhere out the back of a takeaway which normally has difficulty storing pizza boxes, but now accommodates a take-off and landing site, as well as a new member of staff, the Pilot.

After taking off and clearing the wheelie bins and cardboard boxes stacked against the back wall we’re then led to believe having avoided trees, lamp posts, road signs, tower cranes and various scaffolding towers that litter the city,

it hovers outside your front door waiting for you to press the ‘accept’ button on the app alert you’ve just received and step outside in the pouring rain and wind with open arms to accept the tasty parcel being lowered by organic compostable string.

That’s all assuming that you have a front door unlike half the city who live in apartments or flat complexes.

This notion of a flying chicken curry is not reality.

Early last year Amazon managed to create headlines around the world with the news that they were soon to begin parcel deliveries by drone.

It hasn’t happened and it won’t.

The closest I’ve ever come to this was seeing my neighbour’s dog carrying The Herald back from the shop in his mouth. Not a headline anywhere.”

Manna signs up Ben & Jerry’s and Camile Thai for flying food deliveries (RTÉ)


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50 thoughts on “And Pigs Will Fly

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    It IS a reality and it’s not nonsense. Bobby Healy has secured all of the aviation permits and this service should be available very soon. I can’t wait. Why is there always so much negativity surrounding tech and innovation? Is it because of the shift in employment?

    1. dhaughton99

      Its lunatic stuff. Hows there profit in it? If you ask me, its to push out dark kitchens like over in the states.

    2. JEH

      Who in their right mind wants to live in a world with countless autonomous drones overhead? That sounds absolutely horrific and dystopian. See the last season of the X-Files.

    3. Jeffrey

      The amount of security issues associated with this and the cost of those drones which will crash, get robbed, be stoned makes any of these project total lunacy.

      1. scottser

        i can imagine the new sport of drone catching:
        ‘did you get that double whopper you wanted?’
        ‘nah,tofu roulade with a beetroot jus’

  2. Spud

    I thought it was a PR stunt at first, but that was months and months ago.
    Bobby and his (apparent?) team have been working away in NOVA UCD and a location in Wales on this.
    It’s a bloody huge time investment on perhaps the biggest fake news story of the year?

    Seems like it’s just a ‘pilot’ for now which makes sense, and many of the questions above have already been answered.

  3. 01101101 01100011

    hm, I agree

    this story “smells” (my brain says – too early for a spicebag, shurrup wouldya)

    a bit like some kinda lovindublin viral drum up some interest marketing campaign…or like that ad where the exec lads sit around their boardroom table inventing all the merch first before only starting to think about making a movie to support it after?

    apart from impracticality there are severe rules governing drone flights these days – one in particular is that as a “drone pilot” you must maintain a line of sight at all times…unless its a setup (it won’t be) with complex flight control facilities almost like a mini-ATC I cannot see how this is feasible at all

    is this how investors get roped in these days?

  4. Adam

    The end game here isn’t about drones maneuvering into the the side alleys of a Macari’s chipper in the middle of a town for a pick up. Instead it’s to establish dark kitchens out of dedicated warehouses where multiple “takeaways” exist and pickups can be simple.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Almost all pre-cooked and part-cooked meals in supermarkets are prepared in dark kitchens, and have been for decades – to strict environmental health controls I add. Drone delivery is all about speed-to-market, and to meet the demands of the growing number of customers ordering in. The success of companies like Deliveroo and Just Eat are a testament to this.

      1. 01101101 01100011

        Hi Spaghetti

        Deliveroo etc. (whatever about it’s questionable side-effects) you’re correct about that no doubt.

        but unless their UCD incubator there has come up with a cheap, reliable, ubiquitous way to play ball with existing IAA (and beyond) Air Law or can circumvent it somehow (and if they did that they’re in the wrong game) I can’t see how this is anything other than a bright shiny aspirational lure thing. say for instance if I was a carpet-bag merchant and I’d thrown a pile of cash into an exciting shiny “this changes everything” idea but subsequently discovered that it’s got all sorts of knots to undo and ohno I’m still leaking cash here wtf?! I might have to come up with a marketing ploy to somehow retrieve the scenario, hm?

        I await the technical details with interest

        1. freddy8toes

          they have been working with the IAA from the get go and have their full backing to trial this. By all report the IAA are supportive.. for now..

  5. scottser

    hey, if you can kill terrorists with a drone surely you can drop a burger and chips outside the front door.

    1. theo kretschmar schuldorff

      Killing terrorists sometimes incurs collateral damage.
      What if this yoke dropped the curry on the postman’s head?

          1. theo kretschmar schuldorff

            Penicillin might leave his tummy feeling tandoor.. might have to spend time on aloo

    1. Bodger

      henry, that was Olga’s original headline, but we felt it was probably why they called it Manna and didn’t wish to ‘fly’ into their morkeshing radar.

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