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12/11/2014 by

Indoor Drone Delivers Fresh Coffee To Your Desk

Something is brewing in Amsterdam’s media and technology coworking hotspot “A Lab” on the north shores of the IJ in Amsterdam.


Coworking is an emerging trend around the world with Impact Hub leading the way across 6 continents. This new style of working involves the sharing of space, ideas, creativity and knowledge. Among consultants, (graduate) entrepreneurs, freelancers and small companies, coworking has become the alternative for working in coffee shops, cafes, or at home.

In the Dutch capital Amsterdam various coworking spaces have popped up in recent years as well, to name a few:
– The Hub for social entrepreneurs
– We Are Boutique for media, marketing and fashion professionals
– Jam Workspace for expat-focused and family-friendly businesses
– A Lab for new media and technology startups

Coworking spaces offer the appeal of a progressive workspace, blended with a casual and trendy feel, where you can work, play, socialize and connect with like-minded people and have access to the necessary things (meeting rooms, high-speed internet, printer etcetera) to run or start a business.

Located inside a former Shell laboratory, six A-Lab companies (Unc Inc, Instability We Trust, Puur Ontwerp, Skeyework, Screenturner, The Coffee Virus) have joined forces to create the “Coffee Copter”,  a flying quadcopter that delivers fresh coffee from the coffee shop “The Coffee Virus” on the ground floor, to anyone in the four-level building. Watch the recent successful test inside the building:

How does the Coffee Copter work?
After office workers place a coffee order using the Coffee Copter smartphone app, a message is sent to the coffee shop on the ground floor, where an employee from “The Coffee Virus” brews a regular coffee, espresso, cappuccino or latte. The coffee is placed into a coffee cup holder and attached to the coffee drone.

A 3D map allows the drone to fly various routes through the building. The Coffee Copter is further equipped with motion detectors, object recognition and stabilizers to avoid crashing into people, doors or pillars and to fly the fresh brew as straight as possible. When the Coffee Copter has reached its destination, it lands on a specially designed landing pillar and also gives a signal that the coffee is ready to drink.


In an interview with Dutch newspaper “Het Parool“, Unc Inc’s Floris de Langen shares that Coffee Copter is still in development stage. According to Floris, drones currently consume too much energy, and are not accurate enough in detecting surroundings, as they crash too often. They should be more powerful, yet also be more energy efficient and have better motion sensors to detect the area.

The companies behind Coffee Copter are now looking for additional funding to take the coffee drone into actual production, hoping to turn this into a commercial success. The flying office gimmick will be further tested and developed to carry a tray, to carry more coffee cups. If you’re keen to find out more, check to get all the details you might need.

My opinion?
Since 2013, we’ve seen a number of outdoor examples of drones delivering services like packages, beer, winechampagne, pizza and laundry , yet indoor drone examples like the “Coffee Copter” are a smart new use. Drones are considered model aircrafts in current legislation. Today, unmanned air vehicles are subject to various rules and regulations in The Netherlands and elsewhere.  These remotely piloted aircrafts usually require an unmanned aerial vehicle certificate and special permission from authorities to operate on a frequent basis. With interesting new experiments of drones for everyday use, thanks to rapid advances in drone technology, calls for a revision in certain legislation will certainly arise in the near-future.

Drones for consumer use are still in experimental phase and vary in pricing between 50 euro and 1000 euro. Pricier models have better features, such as longer battery life, accurate GPS, more speed, extra controllable range, better lifting capacity and more advanced sensor or camera technology. The Coffee Copter is certainly an interesting development. Drones going indoor also raises new issues to deal with such as: liability when hit by a drone, office noise from drones (flying back and forth), displacement of jobs etcetera. With the rise of Internet of Things will we also see indoor drones interacting with elevators, to take a short cut?

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About the Author
Paul van Veenendaal (36) is an all-round marketing professional from the Netherlands with 15+ years of online experience. Paul is co-founder of ViralBlog and has worked at Starcom (Publicis), Ogilvy (WPP) and SocialMedia8 (WPP) for amongst others Samsung, Red Bull, Honda, Heineken, IBM and Nike. You can connect with Paul via LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Weibo, Facebook, Pinterest or send him an email at [email protected].


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