FAA Grounds Beer-Delivering Drones
Wisconsin ice fishermen won't be able to get cold ones right to their cabin doors anymore thanks to FAA drone regulations. But new guidelines are on the way.
Winsconsin brewery Lakemaid had been using an unmanned aerial vehicle to deliver cold ones to fishermen working in cabins on the frozen surface of Lake Waconia, but the FAA has grounded their operations. Before the lockdown, thirsty fishermen could give their coordinates to the brewery and have their 12-packs air lifted right to their cabin door by a quadcopter drone instead of having to walk on the frozen lake all the way back to shore to buy beer.
Unfortunately, FAA rules dictate that UAVs cannot be flown for commercial purposes and cannot operate above 400 feet in the U.S., which spells the end for Lakemaid's business model - for now. “We were about to order a larger drone when the FAA called,” said Lakemaid president Jack Supple. “So we’re waiting to see where this goes. Regulations come out in 2015 and we’ll be ready.”
The brewery has started a social media campaign and has even submitted a Whitehouse.gov petition to get their robotic rights back. When TechCrunch asked if Supple was considering other modes of aerial delivery like rockets, Supple refused. “We never even considered using rockets. Lakemaid Beer Frosty Winter Lager is far too good to risk on a violent rocket ride and crash landing on a frozen lake surface,” he says. “The ability of the UAV to set the twelve pack gently and tenderly down in the snow next to the fish house make us fans of this form of delivery.”
Watch Lakemaid's drone in action below: