While the drone in the video is a prototype, work on a far more developed model of the Coffee Copter is underway. Behind it are six small companies whose leaders admit that the project has been a fine excuse to connect with kindred spirits over the offerings of their colleagues at Coffee Virus—an in-building coffee pop-up that became the official A-Lab lunch canteen, serving espresso drinks and filter coffee made from beans by Dutch roaster Bocca.
Floris van Luttervelt, Coffee Virus’ co-founder and head barista, says that the Coffee Copter vision came soon after: “How awesome would it be if we had drones flying around with coffee?” he remembers remarking to an A-Lab regular. “‘Yeah, that would be funny,’” said the second, before adding: ‘Oh, I know somebody who makes drones.’”
That somebody was Ermin de Koning, the industrial designer who founded Skeyework, a company specialized in drone-captured imaging, and also someone who happens to spend his spare time pan-roasting Ethiopian coffee beans at home.
“The guy who makes it fly,” as he calls himself, and his team, are now focused on the Coffee Copter’s third iteration. This time building the device from scratch, they expect to produce a smaller, lighter model with improved sensing devices and a flat one-piece design that creates the illusion of a “flying service tray.”
Still, safety trumps all. “The most important two things are collision avoidance and in-building navigation,” stresses de Koning.