Saturday, August 10, 2013

New Technology Delivers

One of the arguments for spending money on military R&D is that the new technology developed there eventually makes its way to the civilian world, where it is further refined and improved. The most obvious example is the Internet, which began as a military command and control system research project called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency).

Another example is the M-16 rifle, which resulted from research conducted after the Korean War by the Operations Research Office. Today, civilian versions have become quite popular and widespread.

Which brings us to the latest military-to-civilian technology transfer: drones. While most civilian applications of drone technology involve surveillance of some sort, a South African festival promoter is using drones to deliver beer to thirsty concert-goers.
Revellers at a South African outdoor rock festival no longer need to queue to slake their thirst -- a flying robot will drop them beer by parachute.

After clients place an order using a smartphone app, a drone zooms 15 metres above the heads of the festival-goers to make the delivery.

Carel Hoffmann, director of the Oppikoppi festival held on a dusty farm in the country's northern Limpopo province, said the app registers the position of users using the GPS satellite chips on their phones.

"The delivery guys have a calibrated delivery drone. They send it to the GPS position and drops it with a parachute," he explained.

The drone was built in South Africa and nicknamed "Manna" after the Old Testament-story of bread that fell from the sky to feed the Israelites travelling through the desert following their exodus from Egypt.
"It's an almost Biblical thing that beer is dropping from the sky," said Hoffmann.


Old NFO said...

Yeah but, how much is the beer gonna cost??? :-)

Toejam said...

Ah, the much maligned the M-16 rifle, but proven to be one of the best weapons available.

Thanks to Eugene Stoner, who little known to many, did one better than the "16".

The Stoner model 63 multi-purpose, parts exchangable (no tools necessary) was the favorite 7.62 automatic rifle of the Navy SEALS in Vietnam.

Unfortunately, its only fault was it lacked a bayonet lug.

CenTexTim said...

NFO - and how cold will it be when it arrives?

Toejam - the Stoner was an under appreciated weapons system, just as Eugene Stoner was an under appreciated firearms designer.