back to article Drone to deliver beer-as-a-service

Organisers of South Africa's OppiKoppi Music Festival are promising attendees the chance to order a beer and have it parachuted out of a drone and into the campground. The festival takes place from August 8th to 10th. The lineup is dominated by local acts and therefore doesn't look like it's worth booking a flight to South …


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  1. jake Silver badge

    As a guy who once was paid good money to jump out of perfectly good airplanes ...

    ... Dialing this into "perfectly targeted beer-in-hand delivery to intended patron" is as much of a wild-goose-chase as "sitting under apple tree, hand out, expecting apple after finishing picnic sandwich".

    Air currents don't cooperate with pin-point accuracy. Even with a human at the controls.

    In other words, like the rest of the *aaS tripe, it's non-functional media hype.


    1. deshepherd

      Re: As a guy who once was paid good money to jump out of perfectly good airplanes ...

      Air currents don't cooperate with pin-point accuracy. Even with a human at the controls.

      Need to develop "smart cans" that can guide themselves to the target on descent then!

      1. Crisp

        Re: As a guy who once was paid good money to jump out of perfectly good airplanes ...

        Surely a truly smart can would open and pour itself too?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As a guy who once was paid good money to jump out of perfectly good airplanes ...


        2. Piro Silver badge

          Re: As a guy who once was paid good money to jump out of perfectly good airplanes ...

          You mean you don't just drink straight from the can? I feel out of place in such classy company.

        3. Michael Dunn


          If it were a truly smart can, it would probably consume and enjoy its own beer!

    2. Code Monkey

      Re: As a guy who once was paid good money to jump out of perfectly good airplanes ...

      While I doubt the cans will be jumping from the heights you once did I share your doubts about their accuracy.

  2. LJRich


    Definitely my favourite aaS!

    1. Cameron Colley

      Re: Beer!

      I want Aass aaS:

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Beer deliverd by drone.

    Finally! The future has actually started to arrive (sort of).

    What else as an icon.

  4. Stoneshop Silver badge


    An insect net on a ten-foot pole (what else?) which has an RFID-like tag fitted. The drone then should have a camera and tag reader (one that can read the tags from about a meter away) fitted, allowing it to release the can into the right recipient's net. Also, because of the net and the drone's proximity to it, it can just drop the can and be done, no need for a parachute (I take it they don't want to fly right at the recipient for fear of people grabbing the drone).

    1. Owain 1

      Re: Improvements

      Hmmm, obviously if you had a 11 foot pole, then you'd be able to steal the can as it came down. Which means the purchaser needs to have a 12 foot pole. And then the 'can rustler' would need a 13 foot pole. Or just a big net to catch the drone and swipe the whole cargo of precious amber nectar.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Improvements

        Well, they'd have to stand right next to you, as the idea is to have the drone hover just a few feet above the net, then, once it'd had ascertained it was the right pole, drop the can.

        But if there was an 11-foot Pole standing next to me, trying to get my beer, I think I would simply let him.

    2. Pookietoo

      Re: An insect net on a ten-foot pole

      Probably easier to stick a few tinnies in a cooler box and carry that, than try to manipulate a ten foot pole in a crowd.

  5. DJ Smiley

    1.Send text message to get beer

    2. Get charged via return text message...

    3. return text message contains code to open "fridge" on the 'copter....

    4. Beer ends up in right hands \o/

    (Disclaimer, I work for a company who sell text messaging solutions so many my views are blurred by this, but haven't I just solved the problem?)

  6. Adam Foxton

    GPS grid?!

    That better be augmented by some serious differential positioning; having my beer delivered to within 5m of me is likely to result in about 100 people getting to it before me...

    The net-on-a-pole solution sounds good, though- with a QR code or similar tagging the top the GPS can guide it in and a camera can then position it perfectly to drop the beer.

    Using a system like an oilrig escape chute would help it land safely, though a little shaken. Or a funnel-shaped net.

    I give it 2 festival deployments before it's hacked to carry suspicious packages from person to person...

  7. MrXavia

    Finally a drone usage we can all agree on!

    Beer delivery bot has just been moved to the top of my to-do list!

  8. fawlty


    The effect of a 500ml tinnie attached to a failed parachute system descending into the face of the recipient from 50ft above ground...

    Maybe some redundancy in the system needed? Blanket bomb the area with pretzels first?


  9. RainForestGuppy

    Beer is already a service

    You never fully own a beer, you rent it temporaily and gain the benefits, negative or positive.

    With some crap dishwater lagers such as budwieser, fosters or carling you could really complete the cycle by connecting the pub urinals up to the beer taps.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Duck and cover

    Whilst the idea seems fun and I'm really looking forward to wheeling a casualty who'se had a faceful of cans into the Homerton or Royal London Hospital, announcing them as a "drone strike" victim, and watching all the current refugee population sitting in the waiting area suddely have flashbacks and a bit of PTSD, I think that the first time one of these lands on some infant who's been taken to whatever rockfest and is snoozing outside the tent will probably be the last time these things are launched.

    Still if "Trumpton" got issued a variation of these carrying water, it could bring a whole new meaning to the term firebombing.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Duck and cover

      So: Use a polyethylene bag- like that found inside a wine box, only smaller - to deliver the beer.

      That said, I think something along the lines of DARPA's 'robotic mule' would be a better solution to the 'problem'; effectively a vending machine on legs... though at Glastonbury it might be mistaken for a piece of Mad Max-inspired crusty art.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Duck and cover

        'robotic mule'

        Jamie Hyneman built a remote-controlled vending machine for a $soda_manufacturers' ad campaign. Should be a good starting point.

  11. hi_robb


    This looks good but only for short hops....

    /gets coat

  12. lglethal Silver badge

    Am I the only one reminded of Bill Hicks?

    Talking about the Persian Gulf distraction Part 1...

    “See, everyone got boners over the technology, and it was pretty incredible. Watching missiles fly down air vents, pretty unbelievable. But couldn’t we feasibly use that same technology to shoot food at hungry people? Know what I mean? Fly over Ethiopia, ‘There’s a guy that needs a banana!’ SHOOP. The Stealth Banana. Smart fruit!” - Bill Hicks

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If I had the money, Chinook and full size replica of the dog and duck with beer garden.

    Call that a beer, that's not a beer....

  14. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Black Helicopters

    I am torn

    between a beer icon and a helicopter icon.

    OK, let's go for the tinfoil-hat brigade:

    The government laces drone-supplied beer with truth serum so they can spy on you

    In truth of course, beer in sufficient quantities can always let you divulge inconvenient truths

    1. Yag

      inconvenient truths?

      or incontinent truths?

  15. BeerTokens
    Black Helicopters


    Lower cable from copter with digi keypad on it, type in your ticket number and price of beer is charged to your account and a cold beer is abseiled down the line to you. pass cable to the next person so they too can acquire a beer. make thumbs up gesture to send cable back up. Wear a hat with the outline of a beer glass on the top to alert copter to your immediate need.

    Getting beer to the people is my day job!

  16. TeeCee Gold badge


    (unnecessary text bit)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The only beers worth drinking come in bottles. Cans are for fizzy pop.

  18. ShadowDragon8685

    This could be funny.

    I don't even drink beer or any sort of alcohol and I think this is an awesome, hilarious - and doomed - endeavor.

    There's just no practical way to get the alcohol to the intended recipient in a jostling crowd that doesn't involve either taking the drone or something affixed to the done within arms' reach of the crowd, at which point the drone will be summarily hijacked and its precious booty liberated under the flag of the skull and crossed bones.

    That said, you could have an amusing and potentially dangerous cover of 'Smoke on the Water' with the lyrics "But some stupid with a flare gun shot the beer to the ground."

  19. Chris Robinson
    Thumb Down

    Local acts are lekker

    "The lineup is dominated by local acts and therefore doesn't look like it's worth booking a flight to South Africa".

    Up yours boet. At least our acts aren't wailing teenies or thrice recycled 70+ year olds.

  20. SirDigalot

    It was better than the origional idea...

    Which was a ballistic based approach to beer delivery, accurate but people complained about the beer being shook up.

    oh and dying when hit by a beer can at speed.

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