Drinking And Droning

by Jessie Roberts

Last week, Minnesota’s Lakemaid brewery launched a drone delivery system for beer. The FAA was quick to can the idea:

While the agency technically doesn’t forbid drone delivery, it does have a set of very precise and strict regulations for unmanned aerial devices (UAVs). For example, drones are to remain below 400 feet and cannot fly over populated areas. Furthermore, anything weighing more than 25 kilos may not be used for commercial purposes. Unfortunately, Lakemaid beer violates each one of these rules. Consequently, Lakemaid has been slapped with a cease and desist order and is under the watchful gaze of the FAA. For now, the project will no doubt be grounded, unless of course the brewers intend to intentionally break the law.

But take heart, beer lovers — the future probably contains flying alcohol. The FAA intends to review its restrictions, which could potentially change some of the laws surrounding UAV delivery as early as 2015. However, it won’t be straightforward. Specific flight training would be required for those interested in using drones for the purposes of delivery, which would ultimately necessitate a special drone licence. What’s more, larger commercial uses will no doubt be prioritised over the delivery of beer. Things like UAV-managed agriculture and medical supplies could vastly improve the lives of many in society, whereas beer probably won’t.