CES 2020: Drone food deliveries fly closer to reality

Forget meals on wheels, the future of food delivery is airborne as two Irish companies Cubic Telecom and Manna are out to prove at CES 2020.

CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is the giant US tech show in Las Vegas where all the emerging future tech from TVs to futuristic cars are first unveiled.

At CES Cubic Telecom, an Irish car communications company that includes backers such as Audi, and Bobbie Healy’s start-up Manna revealed a partnership that will allow drones to fly food from kitchens directly to consumers’ homes.

“The future of last mile delivery is an airborne one”

Manna’s drones, connected by Cubic Telecom will autonomously deliver customers’ meals while flying at a height of up to 80 meters and a speed up to 80km per hour, completing deliveries in less than three minutes and at a fraction of today’s rates.

Manna from the heavens

Man in blue shirt on white coach gesturing with hands while answering a question.

Bobby Healy at Real Deal 19 in November. Image: John Kennedy

Cubic’s PACE software is embedded into Manna’s drones at the manufacturing stage allowing for real-time data to be exchanged between the drone, the restaurant and customer, thus enabling seamless communication with minimal latency at all stages of the delivery process.

“Everyone is waiting for the commercial drone delivery market to take off as we all see the true potential in revolutionising the delivery services industry,” said Cubic Telecom CEO Barry Napier.

“Cubic’s experience in delivering proven global connectivity solutions with real time analytics across the globe will enable Manna’s custom-developed autonomous service to reduce the cost and time of deliveries, while lessening the overall environmental impact. The team and I are looking forward to expanding into a new vertical and collaborating with the innovative team at Manna.”

Cubic’s PACE connectivity platform has successfully underpinned the global connectivity strategy of several car manufacturers and it is now embedded in millions of cars across 93 markets.

“The future of last mile delivery is an airborne one,” said Manna CTO Alan Hicks.

“One of the most difficult challenges in making that work at scale is reliable communications between our drone fleet and our cloud services layer. We are delighted to be partnering with Cubic for this critical component of our technology stack – bringing us one step closer to our dream of pervasive, autonomous drone delivery for the planet.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 9 January, 2020