Taxi Drones are on the Rise

in technology •  2 years ago

Source: Vimeo

A lot of companies these days are competing with each other to bring the first taxi drone on the market. What once was something out of a sci-fi movie like Blade Runner or Back to the Future is slowly but surely becoming a reality.

Dubai as an Example to Follow

In the city of Dubai a series of test will be hold with an unmanned taxi drone by the end of this year. Dubai wants to be a model city for the world to emulate, so their goal is to empliment the taxi drones into their city infrastructure as soon as possible.
Dubai's (Roads and Transport Authority, RTA) has made a deal with the German start-up Volocopter. The Volocopter company got 30 miljoen dollars from inverstors to develop a two passager drone. According to the start-up the Volocopter 2X can fly for 30 minutes and reaches a top speed of 62 mph. Due to security requirements 9 batteries have been incorporated in the Volocopter. A second candidate is the Chinese Ehang 184, this drone however can only carry one passenger.

Source: Sandeepnewstyle

Uber Joins the Race

Uber also wants a piece of the taxi drone pie and has hired a NASA engineer to help with the design of a new taxi drone model for Project Elevate, which could be seen as the airborne version of Uber's services in the near future. Then there is the French airline builder Airbus that is currently working on a prototype named Vahana. By the end of 2017 the first tests of the Vahana should start, as a part of the company's plan to fabricate entire fleets of 6 passenger drones called CityAirbus. All these companies have several things in common, they want to achieve a way of air travel that is eco-friendly and less noise polluting. Their vertical take-off vehicels are made out of lightweight carbon fiber materials which makes them suitable for inner city traveling.

Price tag and Regulations

According to Uber's ceo Mark Moore, the cost of a trip divided by four passengers will not exceed today's pricetag of the UberX services. A drone for personal use will be costly in the beginning but the more people will buy them the faster they will become affordable for everyone. One thing is for sure, no road maintenance taxes will be charged.

The F.A.A. (Federal Aviation Administration) has stipulated that all aircraft should at least have sufficient fuel in reserve to stay airborn for 20 minutes in case of an emergency, for example when there happens to be a fuel leak. With the Ehang's 23 minutes of flying time, this means that it can only stay in the air for 3 minutes, the other 20 minutes are reserved for critical situations only. Therefore the Ehang 184 and the Volocopter 2X do not meet the F.A.A.'s standard regulation for now.

The Ehang 184 - Source: Ben Smith

Alec Wilson VC200.jpg
A Volocopter model VC200 similar to the X2 - Source: Alec Wilson

Mark Moore remains optimistic, he states that with the arrival of new technologies the batteries will last long enough by the year 2023. Uber plans to have 50 taxi drones in the air by that time. Another challenge is the management of flight routes, most of the big cities already have flight routes for helicopters but the way of optaining clearence to use those routes happen verbally.

At NASA's research center NTX engineers are working on a way to automate the process of acquiring flight routes. With a relatively new software called sense-and-avoid, future taxi drones will be able to communicate with other taxi drones and passenger planes in an effort to stay out of each others way. Moore adds to his predictions that for the first 10 years the taxi drones will fly with a pilot on board, till they gain enough public trust.

Thanks for reading,

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

So very shortly we will be looking like the Jetsons

As I always tell my friends, science fiction of yesterday is now the science reality of today. I love to watch movies acted in technology because what I see in science fiction now is the science reality of the future. Self driving cars was acted in the 80s. That will be night rider for example.


Congratulations @funcore! You have completed some achievement on Steemit and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

Award for the number of upvotes received

Click on any badge to view your own Board of Honor on SteemitBoard.
For more information about SteemitBoard, click here

If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP

By upvoting this notification, you can help all Steemit users. Learn how here!

nice another one

Nice post :D

Thank you for following me @funcore!

If you haven't checked out my introduction post yet...

Please, check it out and #UpVote if you like as I faithfully up vote everyone that follows me...or at least I try to!

Thank you so much and have a blessed day.

good publication .. stop by my blog
you can see my post and give him a vote !! ☺

Great post