Manna is one of Europe’s leading food drones and robots startups. With more than €5million raised, it is betting on a drone as a service business model (basically renting the drones and billing for each flight). Drones have been slow to take off out of the demo zone (notably due to regulation issues). Robots, like those of Starship Technologies (another European startup) are already delivering food in US universities through partnerships with big brands such as PepsiCo. But the gap between robots and drones may be diminishing with Manna launching its experiment with Ben&Jerry’s.
Students at UCD (University College Dublin) will be able to get delivered ice cream (and Thai meals from a local restaurant) at selected pick-up points. This experiment will launch next month and will be (at our knowledge) the first in Europe using robots or drones to deliver food in the closed area of a university. Colleges and universities are indeed the go-to place to run experiments with these new vehicles due to their barriers (its harder to rob the robot), their sidewalk made for disabled people (and robots) and its students (keen on new tech and experiments).