Leading Tech Companies To Test Commercial Drones

Recent announcements from Google, Amazon, and Facebook demonstrate the companies’ paths towards drone adoption:

  • Amazon’s plan to deliver shipments got a bit closer to reality last Thursday, as federal regulators granted the ecommerce behemoth approval, albeit with many restrictions, to test its unmanned aircraft.
  • Facebook will be testing its solar-powered laser-equipped drones this summer, as part of its internet.org project that aims to beam Internet access to remote areas or third-world countries that lacks the infrastructure.
  • Google was reportedly testing its delivery drone aboard last year, but recent reports claim Google is pushing to launch a fleet of high-altitude atmospheric satellite drones within months to provide Internet connectivity, similar to what Facebook is doing.

TechWreck: The TGI Friday’s Mistletoe Drone

‘Tis the season, and this year, restaurant chain TGI Friday’s has been trying to add a little holiday merriness—with a serious misuse of drones.

The restaurant chain meant well. It first rolled out the mistletoe-carrying drone program in the UK a month ago in an attempt to “help people get a little closer at this time of year”. The drones also carry cameras to take pictures of the kissing couples, who are then rewarded with gift certificates for their PDA and holiday spirit.

After seeing initial positive feedback, the company quickly brought the drones across the Atlantic, hoping to spread some holiday kisses across the States. But alas, it was right here in New York City that the mistletoe drone drew its first blood. Georgine Benvenuto, a photographer from Brooklyn Daily, was in the Sheepshead Bay TGI Friday’s when she was unfortunately hit in the face by a flying drone. The blades kept spinning and blood was shed.

Although an isolated incident, this accident points to a larger problem with the commercial use of drones. When it comes to using unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) like this in public space, brands need to carefully weigh issues like practicality, safety, and privacy before deploying them as stunt marketing. The bottom line here is, drones can be used in many productive ways, but delivering mistletoes in a busy restaurant is probably not one of them.


Image from the YouTube Video TGI Fridays Launch #Togethermas Mistletoe Drones

Twitter Creates Dronie Account

In conjunction with the Cannes Lions conference, Twitter unveiled its official @dronie account – a twitter account devoted entirely to selfies taken by drones. The account will be broadcasting selfies taken by drones at Cannes all week, the first of which being a Vine featuring Joel Lunefeld, Twitter’s VP of Global Brand Strategy, and Sir Patrick Stewart. Whether it’s a Cannes-oriented marketing stunt or a permanent way to track droanies, it’s a great way to drum up interest in new technology and Twitter’s integration with it.