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What just happened? Drone deliveries might not be widespread just yet, but more pilot schemes are popping up worldwide. The latest isn't the work of a traditional retailer; it comes from phone giant Samsung. The Korean firm has partnered with drone company Manna to send Galaxy products to customers in Ireland using UAVs.
The scheme, which is a first for Samsung globally, is currently limited to customers based within Oranmore, a town on the outskirts of the city of Galway in County Galway. But the company says it's "keen to expand this service nationwide in the future."
The drone delivery option will be available when buying eligible Galaxy products, including the S21 Ultra, the Galaxy Buds Pro, the Galaxy Tab S7, the Galaxy Watch 3 and the recent Galaxy A Series, from Samsung Ireland's website.
Manna's custom-developed aerospace-grade drones fly directly to customers' residences at an altitude of 50-80 meters and at a speed of over 60kph. This allows deliveries to Oranmore homes within three minutes of leaving the dispatch center.
"Superior customer experience is at the heart of what we do and with this new service we are embracing what we believe will be the future of retail. In the current environment, there is no better time to provide a contactless alternative to 'click and collect' and we are really thrilled to be partnering Manna to achieve this," said Samsung Ireland's head of online, Eamonn Grant.
Manna has already been working with Tesco on a six-month trial to deliver small baskets of groceries to customers in Oranmore within 30 minutes to an hour of placing their orders. It's also partnered with other businesses to send hot food, books, and pharmacy items via the skies.
In the US, the FAA last September issued a Part 135 air carrier certificate to Amazon for its Prime Air drones, which means the company can carry goods on small drones “beyond the visual line of sight” of the operator.