Quadcopters preparing to deliver tacos via GPS

first_imgWhen quadcopters first appeared they looked like a very cool toy you could control with a smartphone. Then students and researchers started experimenting with the quadrotor machines, and got them flying aggressively, working together to build towers, and demonstrating complex swarm behavior.Now we seem to have gone full circle, as quadcopters are being used as flying delivery units. Their cargo? Tacos.This, of course, could just be a joke, but the so-called TacoCopter service allows you to order a fresh taco with your choice of fillings via your smartphone. As part of the order your position is logged via GPS and the taco is then attached to the bottom of a TacoCopter ready for delivery.Specific details of exactly how this system works have not been released. I assume the TacoCopter has an on-board GPS system that allows it to get regular updates as to your phone’s location. It then travels to the last known point where hopefully you are waiting to collect the taco.At the moment TacoCopter is (suspiciously) only available through a private beta serving the San Francisco Bay Area. Even so, I think there’s a few hurdles the service needs to overcome if it is going to work with any degree of reliability and success.To start with, a quadcopter can only fly for so long before its batteries need recharging. We’re talking minutes not hours here, so that limits their range significantly. You also can’t overlook the fact a quadcopter isn’t cheap. Someone ordering a taco may take the view the flying delivery device is worth keeping for a quick profit. Finally, there’s also a question mark over whether the TacoCopter would be allowed to fly without having a license first.An unmanned, flying food delivery service sounds very cool and would certainly cut down on delivery times. However, I am skeptical it will work, and if it does, will we end up with skies full of swarming drones delivering packages? Collision detection and route mapping algorithms are going to have to improve quickly if that’s the case.Is this a joke service? 99% sureWould I use a quadcopter delivery service? Most definitely.More at TacoCopterlast_img

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