Increasing number of cars on the roads worldwide forces large cities to take active steps in search of alternative travel methods, such as passenger drones. There are quite a few companies, who presented prototypes of a passenger drone, following my personal top 5 most promising passenger drone providers.
Ehang184 is a one-person passenger drone. It was originally announced to start flights in July 2017 in Dubai. Even though that deadline was over-optimistic, now the Company presents a new prototype of a 2-seat drone, that is being reviewed by regulators. According to company CEO’s statement, the passenger drone was built with full redundancy in its systems, 100% green technology and is powered by electricity.
Airbus is aiming to introduce a passenger drone, which will operate on fixed, predetermined routes, with a top speed of around 80 mph. Short hop flights are also an option. The company is working on enhancements such as battery swapping and autonomous docking.
Uber partnered up with NASA in development of its passenger drone concept. Estimated to go live by 2020, the company states that it works with the government and real estate companies in Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai.
Uber elevate video
Intel made a very bold keynote at CES 2018 presenting its concept of passenger drone in collaboration with Volocopter (backed by Daimler) presenting an actual Volocopter VC200 flying across the stage.
Volocopter VC200 flying across the stage is a two-seater 18-rotor passenger drone, that can operate both: autonomously and by a pilot. The current fly range is at 30 minutes or 17 miles. Volocopter VC200 already obtained flying permit in Germany.
Volocopter VC200 video
Lilium Jet is a German company, that accomplished its first flight in Munich back in April 2017. This electric passenger drone takes off vertically, very much like a helicopter, but features an ability of a “jet-like” horizontal flight. This unique combination unlocks an ability to travel at a speed of up to 300 km/h and have a flight range of 300 kilometers.