One day, a drone might deliver you your afternoon caffeine fix. IBM has secured a patent for a coffee drone that not only flies around public spaces to provide hot java but also may predict which people need a caffeine boost. IBM said the tech could be used in offices to avoid that mid-afternoon slump, or near coffee shops to give sales a jolt.
According to the patent filing, the drone could be used in an office, cafe or event setting, where a preordered cup of coffee would be delivered to the drinker or where a caffeine-deprived individual would flag it down, like a taxi. Facial- or voice-recognition software or an electronic ID tag or Bluetooth from a person’s smartphone ensures the coffee gets to the right person.
If that’s not crazy enough for you, the patent goes on to state that it can predict precisely when someone might need a caffeine jolt and proactively deliver the hot joe right to the person. The drone would assess someone’s recent sleep quality via a Fitbit or similar tracking device, their work calendar (showing, for example, how many meetings they’re attending), biometrics, blood pressure, pupil dilation, facial expressions and wake-up time.
And if you’re wondering how a drone can deliver a hot cup of coffee: the drone itself would be equipped with an onboard heater. And how does the coffee get from drone to customer? One suggested way is having a string attached to the drone and the coffee, with the drone cutting the string once it senses the coffee being pulled away. Sound totally safe!
The IBM patent goes on to list other practical applications, like serving drinks in bars. The drones sensors would detect if the patron was over-served by looking for visual cues like sleepiness, unsteadiness or slurred speech cues, and would ignore the patron if they tried to flag down the booze drone. The drone would also determine and not serve the patron if they were a minor.
In 2014, Dutch entrepreneurs built a similar app-based drone delivery system called Coffee Copter, that took coffee from a shop within an office building and delivered to predetermined landing pads within the building.
Don’t go searching the skies for your coffee delivery just yet. As with most of these drone patents, a lot of practical and logistical work needs to be done with drone technology y and its general acceptance before we’ll see them go mainstream for deliveries.