Tesla, Google, Uber and other autonomous car makers are talking about creating self-driving cars in the next three to five years, but, what about airplanes?
In June 2016, the Chinese firm EHang received clearance from Nevada to test the world’s first passenger drone. The Guardian reports that the drone can fly at up to 11,500 feet at 63 mph, but only for 23 minutes. On the other hand, Uber Elevate, an on-demand air transportation service, is going to be created within a decade. Soon enough, drone makers, like DJI, will probably put their own flying vehicle in the race.
Looking at the future is exciting, but what about some barriers these companies may encounter?
Charging: battery life is the biggest hurdle for any drone in the industry. Passenger drones will need a infrastructure for a mid-air charging.
Regulation: existing rules from the FAA insists that drones, within line of sight, must always be controlled by a live operator.
Passenger drones could save Americans from spending 6.9 billion hours per year stuck in traffic. More importantly, emergency passenger drones could prevent thousands of deaths.