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Beer-delivering drone grounded

Posting in Transportation

Drones might be a suitable solution to send beer out onto a frozen lake, but crafty brewers that were delivering to ice fishermen in Minnesota have been grounded.

A company called Lakemaid Beer was flying beer out to fishing shacks -- under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) radar -- until regulators took notice of its YouTube advertisements.

The FAA doesn’t permit commercial drone operations, so Lakemaid was grounded. Its managing partner Jack Suppie told Al Jazeera America that it didn’t believe that the FAA would be upset by its low altitude drone flights – especially considering it was all happening over open water away from any residential areas.

Even that limited use case isn’t legal under current FAA regulations. Other potential drone service scenarios include shipping products from retailers such as Amazon, parcel delivery, and pizza deliveries. Even UPS is examining drone possibilities.

The U.S. government is reconsidering its ban as it evaluates new rules. The U.S. Congress passed a law requiring this to be done by “no later than September 30, 2015.” Commercial drones are currently operating on test sites for this purpose.

See the Lakemaid advertisement here:

— By on February 3, 2014, 9:00 PM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure