Many people start their mornings with a fresh cup of coffee. You may brew it yourself at home or head down to your local Starbucks. But, how would your days change if you could get your favorite coffee delivered to you, wherever you were, via drone? Companies have been working on using drones to increase delivery times for a few years now. The creation of a drone that delivers coffee has also been in the works for years.
In 2014, entrepreneurs in Amsterdam reported that they were working on a drone that delivered coffee around their office building. Designers at A-lab dubbed this drone the Coffee Copter. Using the Coffee Copter app, patrons place their orders to the coffee shop on the ground floor, then baristas put the orders in a cup-holder attached to the drone. Equipped with motion detectors and stabilizers, the drone maneuvers itself throughout the building and delivers the coffee by landing in a specially designed pillar located in the room. A demo of this process can be seen in the Coffee Copter promo movie, which is available on their website.
At that time, the Coffee Copter was still in its developmental stage with the team mainly concerned with the drone’s limitations as a mode of delivery. This included a lack of energy-efficiency and accuracy. There has not been much news released about the project after 2014.
Last September, British coffee company Costa performed a trial with their own coffee copter in Dubai. Costa’s ride thru location at Kite Beach in Jumeirah allowed beach-goers to call-in their orders. Within 15 minutes, their drinks were delivered to them on the beach via a specially designed drone. This trial was initiated by Costa’s United Arab Emirates customers, 82% of whom informed the company that they would be interested in using a drone delivery service for their food and drinks. However, it is still uncertain if and when Costa’s coffee copter will come to fruition. Logistics such as regulation and commercial viability are still being considered.
Most recently, in August of 2018, it was revealed that IBM, which gained its notoriety through computer manufacturing, had thrown their hat into the ring and patented their plans for a UAV that not only delivers coffee but also, detects when a person wants coffee. The patent is dated August 7th, 2018 and states that it is for the drone delivery of coffee based on the cognitive state of an individual. The abstract further explains that the UAV would have sensors that scan people “for an individual who has gestured that they would like the drink, or for whom an electronic analysis of sensor data indicates to be in a predetermined cognitive state.” The patent depicts different possible designs for said drone, such as a drone that dispenses coffee directly into a mug and delivering drinks sealed in a bag.
For now, it is still unclear when coffee delivery drones will be present in the food delivery market.
I am a writer and an artist based in Georgia. Specializing in illustration, graphic design, and video art, I love to explore the new ways technology intersects with art. I think drones have done amazing things for photography and video art, making what would previously be costly and difficult more accessible. As a complete novice, it was only recently that I saw what independent artists could do with their drones, and I continue to be impressed by the sights that drones are able to explore and the images they can capture. Instagram: @tyesha.ferron