World's first 'coronavirus drone delivery service' could bring food to self-isolating Brits

A WORLD first drone delivery service is launching next week.

The flying tech will be used to carry food and medicine to self-isolating people during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The project will launch in the village of Moneygall in Ireland.

The UK air traffic control service has been in talks about bringing the drones to Britain but nothing has been confirmed yet.

The autonomous drone, which was made in Wales, will take off from a delivery station and will carry goods over a four-mile radius.

It can travel at up to 50 miles per hour and carry up to 9lb worth of goods.

When it reaches its destination it will hover at around 30ft in the air and the recipient should receive a smartphone notification.

The drone then uses cameras to find a safe space to drop off the package.

This may be in a garden or driveway.

The 1.75 metres by 2.1 metres drone doesn't have to land to do this.

Manna Aero is the start-up behind the drone project.

It thinks each of its drones could make around 100 trips a day.

Manna Aero has signed a deal with an unnamed pharmaceutical company in order to launch the trial next Monday.

The service is free.

According to The Times, Bobby Healy, the chief executive of Manna, said: “This is targeted at the elderly and the vulnerable; people who have been told to stay inside their homes.

"What they need is critical food supplies and prescription medication and that’s what we will deliver.

"“We can carry anything between two and four kilos and can travel for a four miles radius so can easily cover any suburban or rural town with a strong delivery service.”

The original plan was the launch the drone service as a partnership with Just Eat but this had to be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Next weeks trial is thought to be the start of the world's first full-scale drone delivery service.

The UK Department for Transport revealed its own plans to test drone deliveries last month.

This test could deliver urgent medical supplies between hospitals in Southampton and Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

The UK's drone code – how should you fly?

Here's the official advice from the CAA…

  • Always keep your drone in sight. This means you can see and avoid other things while flying
  • Stay below 400 feet (120 metres) to comply with the drone code. This reduces the likelihood of a conflict with manned aircraft
  • Every time you fly your drone, you must follow the manufacturer's instructions. Keep your drone, and the people around you, safe
  • Keep the right distance from people and property. People and properties, 150 feet (50 metres) / Crowds and built-up areas, 500 feet (150 metres)
  • You are responsible for each flight. Legal responsibility lies with you. Failure to fly responsibly could result in criminal prosecution
  • Stay well away from aircraft, airports and airfields when flying any drone. It is illegal to fly them inside the airport's flight restriction zone without permission. If your drone endangers the safety of an aircraft, it is a criminal offence and you could go to prison for five years

In other news, Google Maps is about to release ‘mobility reports’ showing hotspots where people are going during lockdown.

A conspiracy theory claiming 5G has caused the Covid-19 pandemic is doing the rounds on WhatsApp.

And, social media platforms has been inundated with bots trying to spread fake coronavirus news.

What's your opinion on drones? Let us know in the comments…

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