Pony Express Courier completes Ireland’s 1st drone delivery

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Ireland’s first Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) approved parcel delivery by drone was completed this weekend, in Dun Laoghaire – Dublin.

The flight was performed by Pony Express Couriers, Ireland’s largest same-day courier and took two minutes to complete from take-off to parcel drop, with the drone (a DJI Inspire 1) taking the parcel, weighing 250 grammes, from the shoreline to a boat at sea almost 200 metres away.

The parcel contained medical supplies: an emergency thermal blanket, an Epi-pen, bandages, plasters, thermometer, first aid leaflet, gloves, wipes and burn dressings. It also contained food and a drink in the form of a high-energy bar and water. The supplies were attached to the underside of the drone in a waterproof container.

Though Pony Express Couriers, who were the first courier company in Ireland, are not planning on offering a drone parcel delivery service in Dublin or Ireland any time soon, they are keen to be at the leading edge of all new developments in their section.

Pony Express operations manager, Audrey Browne says: “We were delighted to be involved in Ireland’s first drone parcel delivery and we’re proud that we, as an Irish company, are trialling the technology.

“The delivery of low value, urgent items such as takeaway food, especially to remote rural areas is highly likely. But important city deliveries such as the majority of our same-day express services could not be trusted to drones yet, the possibility of interception, loss or damage would be too great.

“When parcel delivery by drone can be proven to work safely in an urban context, then we will revaluate the situation, but for now we will continue offering parcel delivery by our traditional methods of bicycles, motorbike, vans and trucks.”

This flight is the first parcel delivery drop by drone that the IAA have sanctioned in Ireland. “We’re delighted with the success of the first official parcel delivery in Ireland via drone under controlled conditions which met all regulatory requirements.

“The application of drone technology is vast and the IAA will continue to foster, promote and encourage its use with the emphasis as always on safety.” says the IAA’s director of safety regulation, Ralph James.