Ice-cream shop offers drone delivery service to beachgoers
Lincolnshire: Beach-loving Britons may soon be able to chill out a bit more with ice-creams flown directly to their deckchairs by drones.
A trial of the scheme at Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire, which boasts of nearly four miles of sands, has been proven successful at first attempt.
Rock & Ices, situated yards from the beach, is now just awaiting an approval from the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure safety at the seaside.
Customers can order one of six varieties of ice cream using the Ice Me smartphone app, which is still in development.
The ice cream shop charges £0.99 (Rs 88) for a cone or £1.20 (Rs 107) plus a flake – and the order is displayed on an iPad in the store.
Four ice creams can be carried at a time in a basket-style holder which hangs from a drone from a metal pole.
Then, using GPS, the treats will be flown by a £4,000 (Rs 3.5 lakh) drone to the customer, who would only have to move their hands in order to grab the order.
Nigel Stephenson, the firm’s director, said staff came up with the idea as a way of helping customers spend more time on the beach.
He added: “We have often been asked about delivering ice creams on the beach and with the poor weather at the start of the season we are looking at ways at helping visitors to the resort enjoy more beach time now the sun has arrived.”
“We first looked at how someone could remotely order an ice cream and as most people now use apps for everything thought we should have an app.”
The company contacted specialists TheDroneMan.net, an aerial photography and video company, for advice. During the trials, a qualified drone instructor piloted the device by remote control. But if the scheme is approved by the CAA, a longer-term approach will be investigated.
Michael Kheng, chief operator of TheDroneMan.net, said: “We are really pleased to be involved in this project.
Many companies are looking at deliveries by drone. We need to keep at the forefront of the industry.”
Meanwhile Rock & Ices is confident the drone can deliver the treats before they melt – especially in the British climate.