If you should work up a thirst at the lakeside beach in the Estonian town of Viljandi, don't just head for the nearest store. Instead, for a much more memorable drink-getting experience, simply send a text message. Within less than five minutes, a drone will arrive from the other side of Lake Viljandi, bearing your cold beverage.
The demo service will only be in place for two weeks, and is being orchestrated by Estonian delivery company Cleveron.
After clients place their order by text, a quadcopter is loaded up with the appropriate bottle at a depot on the far side of the lake. The aircraft then flies over to a dedicated structure on the beach known as the CleverNest, which it drops the bottle into from a height of 2 meters (6.6 ft). It's not clear if the drone will be flying autonomously, or if it will be controlled remotely.
Whatever the case, the client subsequently retrieves the drink via a hatch in the CleverNest.
The project is being billed as offering "the fastest response time ever for commercial drone delivery," although that could simply be due to the short distance that the drone has to travel – the lake is just 450 m (0.3 miles) wide.
It could also be argued that no response time at all would be required if a vending machine were simply to be installed at the beach, but that presumably isn't the point of the whole thing. As Cleveron states, "This drone delivery service represents the future of last mile delivery and in broader perspective, future of e-commerce."
The system is demonstrated in the following video.