First Irish drone delivery by Pony Express

Pony Express Couriers have announced that it has made the first authorised drone parcel delivery with permission from the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

The drone delivery was made in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin last Saturday (28th January), using a DJI Inspire 1 drone. It carried a 250 gramme parcel from the shoreline to a boat that was at sea some 200 mtres offshore. It contained medical supplies including 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.

Pony Express Couriers said that while it is “not planning on offering a drone parcel delivery service in Dublin or Ireland any time soon”, it is “keen to be at the leading edge of all new developments”.

“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,” said Audrey Browne, Operations Manager of Pony Express.

Browne continued: “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.”

Ralph James, the IAA’s Director of Safety Regulation, added: “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.”

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