Beer, Tacos and … Drones?

The race towards greater use of unmanned air vehicles has taken an unexpected and innovative direction with drones being developed for food and beer delivery. What is being dubbed as the ‘OppiKoppi Beer Drone’ will be on hand at a music festival in South Africa to deliver alcohol to the thirsty.

Festival goers at the OppiKoppi music festival will be able to order a beer from their phones via an app, and the hand guided drone will deliver their order to their location, releasing a can attached to a parachute. The deliveries will take place on a special campsite designated ‘District 9’. Whilst the drone is currently hand guided, there are plans that the drone will eventually become fully automated, operating from a GPS grid. The current drone can only carry one can, but development is ongoing with the aim of the drone being able to carry two or three cans.

The drone is being run by Darkwing Aerials, whose co-founder Dean Engela told CBS news, “There’s going to be one campsite designated to the beer drop, the campsite will be notified that there will be drones in the air”.

The drone will be operating from August 8th to 10th, and for now the beer delivered will be free and for promotional purposes, to avoid purchased beer being delivered to the wrong person.

The idea for the beer drone has come in the wake of last year’s Tacocopter. Widely picked up many news organisations after its maiden flight of 3 seconds, Tacocopter was a concept similar to the beer copter of delivering Tacos via a Smartphone app and a micro-copter. However it has never come to fruition, with Star Simpson, one of the three co-founders, calling it more of a conversation starter than a real project with too much government regulation blocking the way for it ever to be a reality in the near future.

Hopefully the developers of these projects will have seen the incident that occurred with the X Factor drone earlier this year, when a drone filming over crowds for the TV series got out of control and crashed into the Thames. According to reports, the drone was deliberately crashed into the Thames to avoid injuring the crowd. A reminder of the serious safety issues which can arise with drones and crowds.

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