Meals-on-wings: Penela OAP receives first drone-borne food delivery

Joaquim Reis, 79, received Portugal’s first drone-borne food delivery in his lonely village of Podentinhos (Penela) this week, saying that while it was a “great idea”, he thought it might be a huge expense for “just one man”.

“I never imagined receiving a meal from a machine”, he told reporters as they photographed him approaching the air-dropped lunchbox with a very long stick.

Of course, the idea is to reduce the driving time of meals-on-wheels staff, and possibly extend drone services to other areas: like the delivery of medication, and forestry vigilance and fire prevention, said mayor Luís Matias.

But for the time being, this was just an experiment, organised through a pilot-project of meals-on-wheels provider Santa Casa da Misericórdia whose Penela boss Fernando Antunes remarked that drones, so far, are unable to offer other vital services, like human contact, personal hygiene, general cleaning and ‘conversation with the family’.

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