Sunday, December 9, 2012

Burritos, Travel Substitution and Air Drones

Technological change happens all the time, and affects how we travel. Some technological change allows us to move faster or improves accessibility, and other technological change allows for substitution of personal travel for other travel. An example of travel substitution is food trucks, where trucks bring the food to people who would otherwise have had to travel for similar consumption. Online shopping is another well-known example of substitution. In many cases travel substitution is welfare enhancing and can spur productivity gains. Again, in the case of food trucks, before the recent boom in trucks no one knew people everywhere really wanted Korean food on tortillas topped with salsa and cheese. Let's assume this innovation makes us all better off.

Food trucks developed from the LA taco trucks (delightfully called roach coaches), and I hope Mexican food is the key to the future of food delivery because just like with the taco trucks, the truly great ideas are all about burrito delivery.

Here is the evidence:

(These have been around awhile)
-The Burrito Tunnel (I've written about this before)
-The Taco Copter

(And because three data points are irrefutable)
-The Burrito Drone


So I predict that the next hot trend for street food will involves commercial uses for air drones, and the cuisine of choice for truly innovative travel substitution is Mexican. In support of this prediction, here is a story from this week's New Scientist magazine titled "Welcome to the personal drone revolution." And here is a self-explanatory company. This may be a bigger deal than finally being able to get a decent burrito in Morningside Heights.

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