Google’s corporate cousin Wing is preparing to initiate drone delivery services in Ireland with trial flights planned to begin in November.
The move to carefully ease into aerial activity in Ireland comes at a time when Alphabet-owned Wing has started expanding its operations around the world. In statements to various media outlets, Wing said it would conduct a “limited drone delivery demonstration” in an unnamed municipality in the Dublin area, calling it “a first step” toward launching full service in Ireland.
Wing’s decision to select Ireland as its next market was doubtless inspired by the fast growth – and early domination – of local drone delivery hero Manna Aero. Founded in 2018 by serial entrepreneur Bobby Healy, Manna has already transported over 100,000 orders to customers in two Irish areas, and plans to announce a new location soon that could quadruple potential homes served.
Wing boasts 250,000 drone deliveries in its US, Finnish, and booming Australian markets, and was welcomed to Ireland by in a tweet by Healy, who is planning to use Manna’s strong base in Ireland to expand to the US and European Union.
“Great news for Ireland,” Healy wrote of Wing’s arrival. “Once again our aviation policy puts us in a leadership position on the world stage. Looking forward to seeing @Wing join us in the Irish skies. Exciting times!”
Responding in kind, Wing tipped its hat to the work Healy and Manna have done building solid drone delivery activity in Ireland.
“Thanks @realBobbyHealy! You’ve built an incredible foundation. Can’t wait to join Ireland’s thriving drone industry!” Wing replied. “Hey, while we’ve got you – any recommendations on where we can find a good Shepherd’s Pie in the area?”
The tweet made clear that a major aspect of Manna’s success influenced Wing’s decision to enter Ireland: the business-friendly policies the country has embraced generally, and its eager application of EU regulations facilitating UAV activity in particular.
“We’re encouraged by the progress on drone regulations we’ve seen in the EU, and Ireland has a strong drone ecosystem that makes it an attractive location for us,” a Wing spokesperson told the Silicon Republic. “We’ve already begun the process of recruiting talent in the area, and we’re excited to join the thriving drone community there.”
The move to Ireland comes after efforts by Wing to grow its drone delivery business in other countries.
Over the past year it has struck several deals with new retail and food partners in Australia, consolidating the country’s status as its strongest market. Earlier this year, meanwhile, it launched awaited service to a Dallas-Ft. Worth suburb, considerably expanding its potential customer base from its previous US operation in Christiansburg, Virginia.
The decision to enter Ireland by holding demonstration flights also reflects Wing’s intent to avoid friction it encountered in rolling out drone delivery in other markets – particularly Australia, where opponents in certain neighborhoods still complain about the noise and privacy questions the craft have generated.
Comments by the Wing spokesperson in media coverage made it evident the company is ready to go slow, reach out, and communicate to assuage any Irish concerns before its drone deliveries go live.
“We believe consultation with the local community before launching any sort of drone delivery service is important, and that process is underway now,” the official said.