Helicopter drones delivering burgers, pizza and tacos (+video)

Published: Thursday, June 13 2013 12:45 p.m. MDT

The Yo! Burger flying helicopter plus outmoded waitress.

YOSushiVids via YouTube

Who would ever have dreamed that we would have flying food before we would get flying cars?

According to The Daily Mail, a restaurant chain in the United Kingdom is using mini helicopters to deliver food to tables. "The Yo! Sushi chain of restaurants is trialing a mini helicopter to serve its customers. The gadget has four rotors and can travel at up to 25 miles an hour — or more than six times a waiter’s usual walking speed."

Eater describes the experience this way: "Despite the fact that a remote-controlled flying drone carrying uncovered plates of food through a busy restaurant might not be the most spill-free way to deliver things to people, early customers/test subjects seem to be intrigued."

The video on YouTube of the flying sushi burgers never shows what happens when somebody reaches for the food.

Not to be outdone, Domino's Pizza also tested a helicopter drone to deliver pizza. The video on YouTube shows a pizza being put into a drone with eight arms and spinning mini helicopter blades. It flies over placid English countryside and delivers the pizza.

The proposal doesn't quite seem legitimate.

Again, it isn't clear what happens when an unarmed flying helicopter encounters a human reaching for food next to spinning blades. Yum, finger-cuttin' good.

A group of geeks tried to get something similar going called TacoCopter in the San Francisco area. Again, a monster eight-armed drone helicopter would deliver tacos to, presumably, people's doorsteps, windows and roofs.

Star Simpson, one of TacoCopter's three co-founders, told Huffington Post their idea wouldn't fly — not because of bad technology, but because the law won't allow it.

"Current U.S. FAA regulations prevent ... using UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, like drones) for commercial purposes at the moment," Simpson told Huffington post over Gchat. "Honestly I think it's not totally unreasonable to regulate something as potentially dangerous as having flying robots slinging tacos over people's heads."

The video on YouTube of TacoCopter's first test flight was less than encouraging anyway. It wasn't the octo-helicopter, but a single helicopter blade holding up a taco the size of a business card. The flight lasted about three seconds before crashing.

The Wright Brothers' first flight lasted 12 seconds, so a short flight doesn't mean complete disaster.

In any case, if you see flying food in the near future, don't be alarmed. Just try not to cut off a finger on the spinning blades — it messes up the pizza.

EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @degroote

Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote

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