The Tacocopter turned out to be a hoax, a mere pipe dream or publicity stunt. But this, the Burrito Bomber, is an actual working prototype with video evidence of its success.
The Burrito Bomber marries a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) with a web app that let's users request a burrito dropped to their location. The UAV is dispatched with burrito locked and loaded, ready to be air dropped by parachute to roughly where you're standing based on the GPS coordinates you supplied.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Another exciting bit of Darwin Aerospace's work is that it's completely open source. That means that they've posted the designs, code and even 3D CAD files necessary to reconstruct their burrito bomber. Their design hinges on combining existing off the shelf materials like this model airplane bomb dropping system, with modifications they've designed themselves and easy to find disposable materials like a standard courier tube.
Unfortunately, FAA regulation still prevent the use of drones for commercial applications including the air dropping of food. The good news is that the FAA is supposed to rework that regulations by 2015 and will likely allow licensing of drones for commercial uses. We're not sure if burrito bombing will fit their new regulations but it's not impossible to suggest that a drone delivery system might not become common place. Of course if a burrito bomber became common place you have to wonder what mischief people could get up to with one. It's annoying to have someone send random pizzas to your door, it'd be worse if you were being chased through the street being pelted with fast food.
Beyond the fun and games of delivering fast food even faster using drones. There's a great deal of utility in investigating these designs for more serious applications. A drone capable of automatically dropping a burrito on your head could very well drop a load of vaccines on an aid worker in an impoverished or war torn country. In fact there are already organizations working on just that sort of technology.