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Rise of the commercial drone: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a ... pizza? (+video)

From Amazon to police departments, nonmilitary uses for unmanned drones arise.

UPS and Google also exploring drone delivery
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Last year, a Domino's Pizza franchise in Britain unveiled its "DomiCopter," an aerial drone designed to deliver pizza. The remote-controlled helicopter can carry two large pepperoni pizzas four miles in about 10 minutes.

The pizzeria won't say if these airborne deliveries are anything more than a publicity stunt. "You will have to just wait and see," says T + Biscuits, the British creative agency behind the campaign.

While the technology works, regulations will likely keep the DomiCopter a (pizza) pie-in-the-sky idea, at least for now. But several groups from Amazon to police departments have found other nonmilitary applications for unmanned aircraft.

Domino's got its miniature helicopter from AeroSight. The British film company uses drones to pull off aerial shots in tighter spots than a real helicopter could manage. AeroSight's résumé includes news coverage, music videos, and the upcoming movie "Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa," in theaters this month.

Here in the States, the TacoCopter promised to fly food throughout the San Francisco area. Alas, the idea never got off the ground. And the deliveries most likely would have been illegal.


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