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Home Drone Wing enters ‘Mana-land’ with medical drone deliveries in Ireland

Wing enters ‘Mana-land’ with medical drone deliveries in Ireland

by nytime
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Google’s corporate drone delivery cousin Wing is continuing to expand its international network with the planned launch of medical services in Dublin – a somewhat unconventional yet pragmatic first step in aerial transport in a nation where local hero Mana has established itself as an early leader in food conveyance.

Wing says it’s preparing a platform of rapid drone deliveries of “pharmacy items, laboratory samples, and medical devices and supplies” between participating hospitals and healthcare facilities. It expects those services to begin in Ireland later this year.

Read: Wing Delivery Network frees drones from point-to-point operation for faster, flexible service

The company’s communiqué does not specify whether those activities will include transporting prescriptions to the households of patients the way US startup Zipline is planning. Given Wing’s doorstep services of groceries and prepared food orders in Australia, the US, and other markets, however, that operation in medical activities in Ireland is probably a given.

Still, the initial launch in drone deliveries of medical payloads rather than retail food orders is an additional clue Wing may be carefully tailoring its rollout in Ireland a considered, tailored manner.

Quite possibly mindful of the head start and popular appeal of Irish sector startup Mana – and lessons learned from its at times contested launch in Australia – Wing structured its arrival in Ireland last year with a long running series of demonstration deliveries in the Dublin suburb of Lusk. 

Read more: Wing’s PR-minded demonstration drone deliveries in Ireland launches as promised

In addition to educating and sensitizing local populations to the craft at work, the operation presumably allowed the Alphabet-owned firm to also measure the opportunities available in an Irish market thus far dominated by a national champion with world-beating ambitions of its own.

Indeed, possibly given the limited partnership options to Mana in Ireland, Wing is launching its Irish medical delivery services with London-based drone service provider Apian. The startup was founded by two UK doctors, and has been involved in ground-breaking healthcare aerial transport initiatives in England – including unprecedented aerial deliveries chemotherapy treatments to the Isle of Wight. 

Read more: Isle of Wight to test drone deliveries of chemotherapy

Wing says it will introduce its medical drone delivery operation between healthcare facilities later in 2023 in South Dublin (a choice indicating literary great Roddy Doyle is not a member of its planning committee), and will use those activities to gauge potential expansion across Ireland and the UK.

Initially, though, the company says its objective is to provide medical facilities, people relying on healthcare treatment, and Dublin residents the same improved capacities Wing drones offer elsewhere across the planet. 

“This efficient network, leveraging Wing’s aircraft and automation, will serve to improve the patient experience while reducing traffic congestion and emissions in the community,” wroteWing chief financial officer Shannon Nash in announcing the launch – while also appearing to indicate the eventual extension of services to households. “Healthcare should benefit from on-demand delivery much like consumers do in their personal lives. Medical drone delivery can provide a faster, more reliable, lower-cost solution than ground-based alternatives. We aim to address speed, inefficiencies, and also environmental challenges by reducing vehicles on the road.”

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