Lilium, Hyundai, and Airbus Are All Betting Big on Taxi Drones—But When Will They Actually Take Flight?

Zacc Dukowitz

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Back in 2017, we wrote a year in review about taxi drones—a lot of progress had been made that year, and it seemed like we might expect to see them in the skies soon.

But since then momentum has flagged, at least from an implementation perspective. Dubai’s drone taxi program—which was supposed to start in the summer of 2017—never launched, Uber has sold off its drone taxi unit, and there still aren’t any cities anywhere in the world that actually use passenger drones.

And yet things are moving forward, just not as quickly as we’d once imagined.

Recently, Lilium announced a significant investment in the creation of taxi drone hubs in Florida, Hyundai announced an investment in creating infrastructure to test its drone taxis, and the EU just launched a huge two-year project to test drone taxis and related technology.

Read today's post to learn more the big investments companies are making in passenger drones, and what they might tell us about when we might actually see them take flight.

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Wow, we're getting closer to the reality of the Jetsons (if anyone remembers that show...)! I think it's a really cool possibly, but there must be a lot upcoming work, stress, and hassle handling this with creating taxi depots, integrating it into the NAS, and overall demonstrating safety. Just some thoughts. 

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I think the biggest hurdles are airspace and safety.

The worlds airspace is so busy without throwing in new flying machines at low altitude, bad weather and [at least for now] who will fly them and how will it be regulated - will you need a pilot licence or will they introduce some new licence?

Uber definitely bit off more than it could chew with their predictions, after all it is flying, even if it's based off a multi-copter design. In fact as everyone knows the multi-copter is inherently unstable and needs some nifty electronics to not fall out of the sky - now go put people in them :).

Obviously Airbus should be at the forefront of building a flying machine and how its integrates with current regulations/airspace, but this is certainly a new sector and will be difficult to predict progression without putting in the test flights first.

Edited by atollaviation
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Totally agreed, I find it surprising that Lilium is willing to invest so much in building infrastructure when they don't even have regulatory approval to operate. Maybe they know something we don't, but I suspect they're just hoping/praying things come along in time on the regulatory front.

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