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Hovering Steward

The autonomous flying waiter

The idea of the project is the development of a logistics system. The use case of the project is the gastronomy industry and is implemented with a hex-rotor. To put it in a nutshell, the drone should be able to serve cupcakes in a restaurant. To make the system autonomous, a digital menu is programmed. Optionally, an event called "Fluorescent Bakery" is planned. The system will be tested at that event.


The project started in project management lecture in high school. Every team needed to think of a fictitious project to manage. In this lecture, "Fluorescent Bakery" was born, a bakery where you can order fluorescent cupcakes. The technical aspect came later when the team decided to do that project as an A-Levels project. The approach was to create a non-human server who is able to serve cupcakes with the help of artificial intelligence. A server on wheels seemed too boring so the idea to use a drone was born. The third dimension was included and so our server was supposed to fly. This is how "Hovering Steward - the autonomous flying server" arose. In addition, a digital menu was created, to automatise the system even more.

Example Workflow

Every guest finds their seat in a restaurant. Afterwards, beverage and food can be ordered on tablets which are provided on each table. The order will be sent to the server which forwards the data to a tablet that is accessible for waiters. The waiter can then put the right cupcake into the mount on the hex-rotor and select the order on the tablet. The server sends the necessary information to the drone, which then starts to fly to the given destination. A camera on the bottom side of the drone and colour codes on the floor are used for navigation; the height is regulated by a control system which gets the distance data from ultrasonic sensors. After landing on the chosen table guests can take their cupcake. To avoid any kind of injury, the drone is covered by a rotor protector.

Electronics / Navigation

The navigation of the hexacopter has been done with ultrasonic sensors and a CMUcam5 Pixy. Colour codes on the floor are used to track the relative position of the flying waiter.

CAD / 3D printing

Attachments for sensors as well as cupcakes have been designed and printed. Additionally, a full rotor protection was established.

Events and Awards

Accenture HTL Challenge 2016

12. ITs Project Award 2016

Smart Engineering Award 2017

Maturaprojekt-Wettbewerb 2016

  • FH Kärnten
  • One of the best projects in technology and sience

ECER 2016 - European Conference on Educational Robotics

Jugend Innovativ

Best of Rennweg