It sounds heavenly: beer falling from the sky like manna from heaven. This summer, festival-goers to the Oppikoppi music festival in South Africa, will be able to experience this novelty firsthand. Free test flights will be undertaken by 'beer drones’.
It could well be that the beer at music festivals and other events will soon be arriving from the sky. The South African company 'Darkwing Aerials' have developed a special drone that can drop beer at a specified location on customer demand. As a pilot project, the company chose the Oppikoppi music festival, which takes place from the 8th to the 10th of August in Northam, South Africa.
In the YouTube video below we get a demonstration of how it works. The customer orders his beer through an app on his smartphone and pays for it in advance. The supplier then loads the Oppikoppi beer drone - an 8-propeller unmanned helicopter - with the can of beer, and sends it to the requested destination. Upon arrival the drone drops the lager, which is attached to a small parachute.
The clearly demarcated drop site is the 'District 9' campsite. To avoid someone being hit on the head by a can of beer, 'District 9' will be warned in advance that ‘cargo aircraft’ will be flying over the campsite.
However, rough supply is not the only concern of the developers. The beer can also obviously end up with the wrong person - someone who has not paid. This problem is temporarily resolved by giving the beers away for free as a promotional gimmick.
The aim is to operate up to three drones at the Oppikoppi festival. Each unmanned helicopter can currently only carry a single can, but the developers would like to increase this to two or three units. For now, the drones will be operated manually, but the developers are working on making the whole procedure run automatically in future by using GPS technology.