Though Amazon's drone delivery system won’t launch until 2015, one enterprising businessman is trying to speed up the program's debut by offering something that might inspire a bit more urgency: beer.
Jack Supple, president of Lakemaid Beer, unveiled the idea last week on YouTube, showing off exactly how easy it could be for fishermen on Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake to get a frosty brew via flying robot.
Set to dreamy music, the video spot begins with a store clerk receiving a delivery order and writing down coordinates. Soon after, the clerk attaches a 12-pack of beer to a drone, which then flies off and successfully delivers the goods to a snow-covered fishing shack.
During initial testing of Lakemaid’s drone-delivery system, its robot failed to pick up a fully stocked 12-pack of beer. But after removing two bottles, bringing the overall weight down to 15 pounds and nine ounces, the drone was able to successfully take off, and land with its alcoholic cargo intact.
But don’t get too excited. The FAA has already grounded Lakemaid’s ambitious plans. The FAA has instructed the company to stop the flights because they were deemed a commercial enterprise.
Supple added that the FAA also referenced a comprehensive document entitled "Integration of Civil Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) Roadmap," which outlines the current restrictions on commercial drones.
In the document, the FAA says:
For a person wishing to design, manufacture, market, or operate a UAS for a commercial mission and seeking FAA approval for that aircraft, its pilot and the operations, existing rules have not been fully tailored to the unique features of UAS.
New rules that will be in place by 2015 could allow for some commercial uses of drones in the U.S., according to document. But until the law catches up with current technology, you’ll still have to hop in a car or walk yourself over to the nearest beer store to get your fix.
The Federal Aviation Administration's only fine against a commercial drone user was dismissed this week, a move that undermines the agency's ability to keep civilian drones from the sky
Lakemaid had been testing a drone delivery system for 12-packs of beer on ice fishing lakes in Minnesota and in Wisconsin before the FAA stepped in.
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Has technology leapt far ahead of human ability to reasonably contain it and manage it?