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Are Drones the Future of Food Delivery?

Google hopes to deliver beer from above by 2017.

Your beer's here
Your beer's here
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

There are Swiss Alps Champagne drones, Las Vegas bottle service drones, and Southern Comfort drones. Why not beer delivery drones? If a Google executive has his way, the technology giant could make the service a reality as soon as 2017. Dave Vos presented his vision of the hypothetical, not-too-distant beer future to a conference of aviation experts on Monday. "O.K. Google, what was that beer? Can I have one now? And three minutes from now, please," The Daily Caller quoted Vos. "That’s what we want to make happen," the aerospace vet told the presumably thrilled, and terrified crowd.

Bespoke beer shipments are a relatively small facet of Google's grander package drone delivery plans. Indeed, as The Atlantic put it in an exclusive look at the program in 2014, "Google doesn’t just want to organize all the world’s information. Google wants to organize all the world." Led by research lab Google X's Project Wing, with Vos at the helm, the service's launch date may be a soft target. "Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017," Vos reportedly told a group of aircraft controllers last November.

Still, this is probably a matter of when, not if. But is it the future of food delivery? Maybe: "If Amazon and Google get their way, drones will be making deliveries of lightweight packages within the next five to ten years," says Ben Popper, business editor of The Verge. "Given today’s technology it’s easy to imagine them carrying relatively lightweight items like a package of cookies, six-pack of beer, or small box of pizza. It’s not easy to predict if food would be something these two tech giants would want to focus on when assigning out drones, but if they can convince regulators to allow this activity, they also plan to create Airspace Service Providers, the aerial equivalent of an ISP, that would let any deli or diner which can afford a drone connect to their network and start making deliveries."

Let's just hope any future food-delivering drones are more carefully piloted than the ones utilized by TGI Fridays for a holiday 2014 marketing stunt, when a mistletoe-toting drone equipped with a "kiss cam" hit a photographer in the face.