Standing in line on a beach waiting to be served an ice cream could soon be a thing of the past. A company has recently successfully delivered its first ice cream using a drone. The trial took place on Mablethorpe beach in Lincolnshire. If successful, future ice cream buyers will be able to place their order using a mobile app, then, using GPS technology, the drone will deliver the ice cream order to wherever they are sitting on the beach.
As you can imagine, we at Explorer Travel Insurance were naturally intrigued and excited about this story.
Intrigued because, before the trial can go commercial it needs the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). This seemed a bit heavy handed to us, but we understand that safety is paramount and with potentially lots of drones flying overhead on crowded beaches delivering all manner of things, then an accident could happen. And a dropped ice cream cone could still hurt, with or without the chocolate flake in it.
We were also intrigued by one press report which suggested that the drone will “promptly deliver the ice cream via an approved flight path to the customer”. This got us thinking. Who will actually approve each flight path? Will they only be able to land every two minutes – as at Heathrow and not after 10.00pm? Will local residents start to complain about the noise? And, what qualification will you need to be an ‘ice cream delivery drone flight path approver’?
We were also excited at the possibilities that this trial suggested for the future beachgoers. Could they deliver pasties and chips as well as ice cream? Deck chairs might prove to be too heavy, or wind breaks, but replacement buckets and spades shouldn’t be a problem, surely? Could they collect things as well as deliver, as in beach balls blown out to sea?
Thinking longer term, and using bigger drones, could they deliver children or older relatives back to cars parked behind the beaches?
Even better still, could they do the same for surly teenagers?