Tacocopter has been trending for awhile, now, but I wanted to hold off on covering it until the hype wore off a bit and a more sober analysis appeared. And now it has, thanks to Huffington Post reporter Jason Gilbert, who got an interview with MIT Personal Robots Group alum Star Simpson, one of three brains behind behind the project, and heard it straight from the horse’s mouth: For now, at least, Tacocopter is more stunt than startup.
Simpson told HuffPost that because of the FAA’s regulations — as well as other minor problems, like navigating the treacherous terrain of an urban environment, keeping the food warm, finding a city map precise enough to avoid crashes 100 percent of the time, avoiding birds, balconies and telephone wires, delivering food to people indoors, delivering food to the right person, dealing with greedy humans who would just steal the Tacocopter as soon as it got to them, etc. — the Tacocopter website exists more as a conversation starter about the future of food delivery (and delivery in general), as well as about the commercial uses of unmanned vehicles, than an actual startup plan or business.
The “Lobstercopter” graphic (“Taco Of The East!”) at the bottom right corner of the Tacocopter page is another strong clue, IMHO. [Thanks, Rachel!]
I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan