The OppiKoppi Music Festival’s beer drone technology

If you thought there was nothing drone technology could do that would impact your life in a meaningful way (other than to perhaps spy on it!), think again because at South Africa’s Oppikoppi Music Festival, concert goers could use an app combined GPS technology to have a drone accurately drop plastic cups full of beer:

Since getting to the Oppikoppi festival, which is held on a dusty farm in the northern Limpopo, is a challenge in and of itself due to the poor condition of the local roads, the organizers probably wanted to make it easy to deliver beer to concertgoers.

Carel Hoffmann, director of the Oppikoppi festival, has said an 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.”

For the sake of safety, Dean Engela, the co-founder of Darkwing Aerials which is the South African company that is providing the beer drone for the festival, told

“There’s going to be one campsite designated to the beer drop. The campsite will be notified that there will be drones in the air.”

The octocopter will only fly outside of the festival area while it makes its way to “District 9” to deliver beer while those inside the campsite will be told in advance that a drone will be flying above them during the show. Currently, the drone is hand-guided, but the developers say they will eventually fly on a GPS grid.

The South African built drone was 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. Hoffmann has also told the media: “It’s an almost Biblical thing that beer is dropping from the sky.”

Even Rand Paul, the United States Senate’s foremost critic on drones and drone surveillance, has tweeted a link to an article about the beer delivery drone, adding: “Perhaps I am not against ALL drones!”


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