A Tesco drone delivery trial will see small items dropped off at customers’ homes within 30 minutes of ordering.
Based at Tesco’s Oranmore store, County Galway, the drones will deliver “small baskets” of goods to the local area.
The drones, supplied by Manna, which already runs medicine delivery trials in Ireland, will launch next month.
Flying at 50mph (80km/h), they can deliver up to 4kg (9lb) of shopping – in a cargo cassette lowered from the drone – a mile away in three minutes.
Manna had planned a takeaway food delivery trial in March but changed its focus to medicines during the coronavirus pandemic.
It now delivers prescriptions and other essential supplies in the town of Moneygall.
In 2016, retail giant Amazon made its first commercial drone delivery in the UK – from its fulfilment centre in Cambridge to a local resident, within 13 minutes of the order being placed.
And in April 2020, the UK government announced much larger unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) would deliver essential hospital supplies from the mainland to the Isle of Wight.
But some drone trials have been opposed by residents who say the aircraft are too noisy and intrusive.
And, last year, an Institution of Mechanical Engineers report indicated only a quarter of UK adults supported the idea of drone deliveries, because of safety and noise concerns.
Tesco set to trial drone delivery service