If you’ve been following the news, you probably know that the use of drones is a highly controversial topic today. Senators have even filibustered over it. So, yeah, you might say the whole issue is kind of a big deal. However, a great innovation in South Africa may change some minds regarding the drone debate.
Unlike military drones, such as the MQ-9 Reaper, which has been hazing our terrorist enemies with laser-guided hellfire missiles, the drones in South Africa will be used for peaceful purposes at a music festival. Their payload will not be precision guided high explosive ordnance, but instead, these remote controlled aircraft will be delivering beer.
Honestly, whoever thought of this was a genius. Anyone at the OppKoppi music festival who gets thirsty can get a beer without even going to a bar. All the thirsty customer needs to do is order a beer with their phone. Then, one of the personnel working the beer delivery system attaches a parachute to the can of beer, loads it onto the eight-rotored drone (called an Octorotor), and then sends the drone on its way. The drone then flies over its target, the thirsty customer, and releases its payload. The parachute carries the beer safely to the ground and hopefully to the right person.
Now, this is definitely not fool proof. Anyone who’s seen Band of Brothers or played with the plastic paratrooper toys as a kid knows that sometimes your parachute-dropped item doesn’t always go to the right place. As of right now, the drones are piloted remotely. However, the creators of this airborne beer delivery system hope to fine tune the process to the point where the drones can fly themselves to their drop zone using a GPS delivery grid.
Will this technology ever be available in the United States? To be honest, I have no clue. I’m not employed in the aviation industry or anything like that. If I was, though, I’d tell you that new regulations from the FAA in 2015 will see an expansion of drone use into the private sector. So, who knows? Maybe in a year or two you can have your own beer delivery drone. Until then, you’ll just have to get a pledge to bring you your drink of choice.
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