City Logistics

Drone deliveries in urban areas

A number of major drone businesses have been making plans to expand their delivery capabilities into more European locations in the near term. In October 2023, Amazon Prime Air announced that as well as expanding availability of ultra-fast drone deliveries to a third US city, it would also be offering it in the UK and Italy from late 2024. Prime Air drone deliveries will be integrated into Amazon’s existing fulfilment network, deploying from same-day delivery sites. The service will be offered from one site, yet to be announced, in both the UK and Italy by late 2024 when customers can opt in to drone delivery for delivery of selected items weighing 2.2kg or less—including household products, everyday essentials, beauty items, and office/tech supplies. Wing, the drone delivery business owned by Google parent Alphabet, also announced in August 2023 that it would be establishing a ‘rapid medical delivery network’ providing medical drone deliveries in South Dublin in partnership with NHS drone delivery company Apian.

The two companies will work with hospitals and pharmacies in South Dublin to deliver pharmacy items, laboratory samples, medical devices and supplies. Wing’s chief financial officer Shannon Nash said that the initiative is expected to “improve the patient experience while reducing traffic congestion and emissions in the community” adding that “medical drone delivery can provide a faster, more reliable, lower-cost solution than ground-based alternatives.” The partnership also intends to explore opportunities to offer similar services in the UK. Also in Dublin, drone delivery company Manna Aero has been offering delivery of take-away food and groceries, partnering with Tesco, by drone in the town of Balbriggan, north of Dublin, since 2022. In July 2023, the company announced it would be expanding its service to the north western suburb of Blanchardstown running a trial until Spring 2024 with plans to expand to other locations across Dublin.




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