Minnesota was the first!

Maybe it’s not quite as prestigious as First Man on the Moon, but Minnesota has First Beer Delivery by Drone.

I suspect a little cheating. I don’t think that drone could lift a full box of beer. But then, Amazon hasn’t actually made any deliveries with their drones yet, either — at least Minnesotans have their priorities straight.


  1. cswella says

    Could be good, if it gets popular enough, no more unprepared people driving drunk to buy more alcohol. Get an app on my phone similar to Domino’s, order some beer online and have it delivered in an hour.

  2. unclefrogy says

    the discussion of drone delivery is just advertising. If there is a place where the idea of drone flying is being seriously researched it would be in air freight it would be a good cost reduction measure.
    Just like robots in the work place there are no C3PO’s walking around but plenty of welders and machinists.
    The thing I am wondering about is what changes will 3D printers cause.

  3. Trebuchet says

    Aaw, they got a cease & desist from the FAA. I’d quite like to see a flying sixer.

    Having just read more than one article on the subject while catching up on my backlog of Aviation Week magazines yesterday, I was wondering about that.

  4. blf says

    Don’t recall now where I read it (probably either the INYT or the Grauniad), but someone pointed out a potentially far more sensible use of drone delivery is for medicines and medical supplies in areas of the world with poor infrastructure (such as parts of Africa, Asia, and South America). I very vaguely recall there is now some crowd-funding going on to finance a prototype / trials…

  5. Menyambal says

    I’m calling hoax. The drone couldn’t lift that much weight, there was no fastening system or straps, and that “ice-fishing” bit was obviously bogus, with the frozen lake and the huts and all.

  6. marcus says

    From what I’ve heard the mosquitoes in Minnesota are big enough to deliver six-packs of beer.
    If only they could be trained!

  7. blf says

    Ah, here we go: Humanitarian drones to deliver medical supplies to roadless areas:

    Greek entrepreneur Andreas Raptopoulos saw drones being used to deliver pizza and set about solving a real problem

    When Domino’s sent two pepperoni pizzas on a 10-minute drone flight last summer in a publicity stunt to demonstrate how takeaways may be delivered in the future, Andreas Raptopoulos reacted with scorn.

    “This is total nonsense. Why the hell would you do that? The public risk to transport a pizza around when you can do it perfectly well with all of the infrastructure you already have there? Why don’t you use the same technology to save somebody’s life when a mother needs medicine or a child needs medicine instead of it being stuck on a lorry on a muddy road. To me, this is where technology works best,” the Greek entrepreneur said.

    Raptopoulos had had his eureka moment about the possibilities opened up by drones two years earlier. The night before a presentation at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University — which aims to encourage business leaders to use technology to solve humanitarian problems — it had struck him that a network of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could deliver medical supplies across parts of the developing world inaccessible by road.

    That idea soon became a start-up called Matternet — a network for transporting matter — which aims to help the one billion people who do not have year-round access to roads.

    In sub-Saharan Africa, 85% of roads are inaccessible during the wet season, cutting off huge swaths of the population and hindering the transport of medical supplies, he said.

    There are three parts to the system delivering medical goods: the UAVs themselves, landing stations where packages can be dropped off and transferred, and the software that ensures vehicles get securely from point to point. Because of their short battery life, networks of drones are needed to work together, shuttling between ground stations, said Raptopoulos. “Instead of one vehicle running for 60 minutes, there would be six for 10 minutes each,” he said. “If you only fly between those [ground station] points, you know where those points are and [what is] around them. If there is a mountain, you know how to avoid it.”

    Matternet has carried out test runs in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Lesotho, in the middle of an Aids epidemic, has been identified by the company as somewhere the system could usefully transport laboratory samples around the countryside. A pilot is planned there for later this year.

    I mis-remembered on the crowd-funding, Sorry!

  8. Menyambal says

    I couldn’t read the coordinates clearly in the last few digits, but it certainly is very near Mille Lacs Lake. Perhaps Foster Lake or one of the smaller ones off to the northeast.

    Just type e 46 23 35 n 93 28 55 or whatever you make it out to be into Google.

  9. Ffej G says

    I coulda used this service out on the lake! Although, I bet if they had something like this during the eelpout festival, there would be stolen deliveries!

  10. John Horstman says

    There’s simply no way airlifting could be more energy-efficient (and thus cost-effective) than delivery by a rolling vehicle. This is why you don’t have a “flying car”. I mean, the basic concept exists in countless forms – airplanes, helicopters, dirigibles, this thing – but they’re generally expensive to build/run/maintain, inefficient, or both.

    Flying is really only appropriate for going very quickly when cost and efficiency are no object or for traversing areas without infrastructure for rolling vehicles. Amazon deliveries fit neither of these cases. Drone delivery (in the USA at least) is an incredibly stupid idea. blf above points us to a much more reasonable application, which fits my second case.

  11. Menyambal says

    What John Horstman said about efficiency, and more. A quadcopter is the least-efficient shape for a flying machine, except for an octo-copter. Having a cube package out in the breeze, under the rotors, is gonna make things worse.

    The only advantages to the drones as shown is that they are electric, and they have no pilot aboard. If the numbers work out right, an electric vehicle uses cheaper energy and has less maintenence—but batteries are heavy, and flying machines need to be light. Without a pilot, a craft can be a lot smaller, but USA drone regulations now require a live pilot, full-time, in control, so you need cameras aboard and pay for the pilot—and there is only one package per pilot and the drone is slow ….