While TacoCopter isn't going to become a reality anytime soon, TacoCopters' founder Star Simpson told Wired that it was more of a thought-provoking idea than an actual product -- the technological hurdles presented by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone are not insurmountable. The real problem, she said, is that current FAA regulations more or less forbid the use of UAVs for commercial uses in cities. As it stands, both federal and local authorities would need to relax those regulations to accommodate such a project.
But, is it possible? Can we look forward to a future of airborne food delivery? To find out more, we got in touch with some people from the local hacker space, HeatSync Labs. Member Joshua Martin pointed out that there are two significant technical hurdles to a UAV delivery service. The first is that you need drones that are smart enough to navigate obstacles on their own. The second problem is that they would need to be able to receive commands from and steer themselves towards a smartphone. He was also kind enough to point us to two videos demonstrating both of these technologies already in action:
So there you go. Small, highly mobile drones capable of avoiding obstacles and responding to commands via smartphone. This technology is so promising that there is anactual
startup in the works that seek to apply this cargo lifting drone technology to a problem more pressing than serving stoners who live higher than the third story.Matternet
is seeking to erect a network of drones that could crisscross the whole of Africa, delivering high priority supplies like medication and vaccinations, even to the most remote corners of the continent.