World's first drone cafe opens in Dutch uni

BLUE JAY: A drone brings drinks to customers in Eindhoven. The "blue eyes" of the drone scan the order, and the drinks are transported by a set of pinchers.


    Apr 27, 2016

    World's first drone cafe opens in Dutch uni


    WOULD you like a drone with your cocktail? The world's first cafe using the tiny domestic unmanned aircraft as waiters has opened in a Dutch university.

    The pop-up drone cafe was in business last weekend as part of celebrations for the "Dream and Dare" festival, marking the 60th anniversary of the Eindhoven University of Technology.

    The 20 students behind the project, who spent nine months developing and building the autonomous drone, aim to show how such devices could become an essential part of life.

    "We see it as the next mobile phone. You choose and you programme it like you want," said student and project leader Tessie Hartjes.

    The drone, nicknamed Blue Jay, which resembles a small white flying saucer with a luminescent strip for eyes, flies to a table and hovers as it takes a client's order, who points to the list to signal what they would like.

    "The blue eyes of the first drone load" up by scanning the list to register the order, said Ms Hartjes.

    "Once it's fully loaded, then the order is ready. And another one comes with the order in a cup in the grip."

    The drinks are picked up and carried by a set of pinchers underneath the drone, in a bid to show that these aerial machines could be used to carry out delicate work such as delivering medicines or even help to track down burglars.

    Each drone costs about 2,000 euros (S$3,053) to build, which is funded by the university.

    Sensors enable the drones to fly inside buildings and navigate crowded spaces, unlike other drones which rely on a Global Positioning System.