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‘Postman Padraig’ makes historic drone delivery to Clare Island


HISTORIC DELIVERYThe drone with the parcel which was delivered to Clare Island last Thursday.

Anton McNulty

HISTORY was made on Clare Island last Thursday when An Post used a drone nicknamed ‘Postman Padraig’ to deliver a parcel to the island.
An Post tweeted on Friday that it had successfully carried out Ireland’s first-ever autonomous parcel delivery from the mainland to an off-shore island using a drone, which may in time change the way post is delivered in rural Ireland.
The drone, carrying a package containing ‘a trinket’, left Roonagh Pier near Louisburgh just after 3.30pm on Thursday and crossed the short distance by air to Clare Island. The drone reached a height of 5,561m and took eleven minutes and 20 seconds to cross over Clew Bay to the lighthouse on the island.
The An Post tweet stated: “FIRST FLIGHT - An Post has just carried out Ireland’s first ever autonomous parcel delivery from mainland to island using a drone. Just after 3.30pm on Thursday we delivered a parcel by drone from Roonagh Pier in Mayo to Clare Island #DeliveringTheFuture”.
In response to questions by a follower on Twitter as whether a delivery service by drone across water  was feasible given the Irish climate, An Post stated that it does not currently use drones and was ‘just testing the possible future’.

‘A test’
An Post’s Angus Laverty clarified that the mission was a test for the company: “The journey took about eleven minutes. It’s a standard drone with a container which held the small parcel. We’ve been working on this for a number of months and we’re very glad to get it completed.”
He added that An Post has no intention of replacing their existing services with drones in the immediate future.
“It’s early days yet. We are aware that drones are going to be part of the business. We do have an application for the future for isolated areas or maybe emergency supplies and they will complement existing services, not replace them.
“These plans are purely in the gestational stage; we want to look at how drones can operate and sit aside our current mail delivery systems. We’ll assess it over the coming months and see where we go from here.”
Drones have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly for photography and videoing but many industries are also looking at ways of using them in their day-to-day business.

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