When the first quadcopters were developed, they seemed like incredibly cool toys you could control with your smartphone. In a fast-paced tech world, students and researchers soon started to experiment with the quadrotor devices, getting them to fly aggressively, work together to build towers or demonstrate complex swarm patterns.
Seeing such a quadcopter would be such a cool experience as it is, but what if it fed you as well? How about a TacoCopter to deliver delicious Mexican food whenever you crave for it, in a matter of minutes, anywhere across the San Francisco Bay area?
iPhone App to Place Your Order
The premise of the TacoCopter is quite simple: you use an iPhone app to place your order and in a matter of minutes a badass unmanned quadcopter will deliver your warm tacos using the GPS coordinates it got from your phone. As you pay online, the TacoCopter simply drops the order where you want it and then goes by its business.
Yes, It IS Real
The TacoCopter startup has actually been around since July 2011, but only recently got media attention. It is not a hoax, not a joke and is certainly not fake, but it's not in order either, as the U.S. government stands in the way. Star Simpson, one of TacoCopter's three co-founders, along with Dustin Boyer and Scott Tuborg, spoke with The Huffington Post and confirmed that one of the primary obstacles in getting the drone up and running orders is, indeed, the government. It's really the legal obstacles in the U.S. that seem insurmountable at this time, said the co-founder.
U.S. Government Does Not Approve
Current U.S. FAA regulations prevent...using UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles] for commercial purposes at the moment, added Simpson. Honestly I think it's not totally unreasonable to regulate something as potentially dangerous as having flying robots slinging tacos over people's heads...On the other hand, it's a little bit ironic that that's the case in a country where you can be killed by drone with no judicial review.
Safety Considerations & Other Issues to be Addressed
There are, indeed, several issues that need to be addressed before the service can become functional. Finding a city map accurate and precise enough to avoid crashes, navigating through the urban environment, avoiding birds, streetlights, balconies and such, delivering food to the right person, keeping the food warm and so on, these are just few of the things to be considered. And could the machine battery drain out in the middle of the flight, causing it to fall onto someone's head?
(reported by Alexandra Burlacu, edited by Surojit Chatterjee)