Most people use conventional modes of transport to get to work every day, such as buses, cars, trains and bicycles, and while we may moan about rising fuel costs or complain about the punctuality and standards of public transport, until there is an alternative mode of travel, there is little to do but accept it. But imagine if you could fly to the office…
Recent images have been shown in the media of manned autonomous drones being used as a mode of transport, catching the imagination of the public and inspiring thoughts of a very different daily commute. The so-called passenger drone is looking to provide us all with ‘urban air transportation’.
Drones and our daily commute:
In the past couple of years multiple tests have been carried out on autonomous drones to see exactly what their capabilities are when it comes to carrying a passenger. Naturally the passenger would also be the pilot of the drone, and it goes without saying that the pilot must have completed adequate training before they were permitted to take to the skies. That said, the pilot – or passenger – can choose to operate the drone manually or select their destination on the control panel, and simply sit back and read the morning newspaper until they arrive.
One such experimental vehicle has been named the ‘red vehicle’ and at the time of writing, can fly at a top speed of around 45mph, with a flight range of up to 25 minutes.
Testing the passenger drone:
Rigorous testing of what has become known as the VTOL, or vertical take off and landing craft, has been carried out and the vehicle has been under intense scrutiny ever since. Tests carried out by the company responsible for creating the passenger drone, have included flight simulations with a variety of payload weights, simulated engine failures and control modes, and many more such experiments before the drone could be tested in the field.
Once these tests had proved that the vehicle could be manned safely, a pilot was placed onboard and it underwent further rigorous testing, the results of which were a resounding success. The first flight ever carried out of a manned drone was shown to the public last year as part of the official launch process of the vehicle, and the flight was around 4km’s in distance.
Could drones really see us flying to work?
The spokesman for the drone company responsible for designing the manned craft certainly seems to think so, stating that manned drones have the potential to radically transform how we get from a to b, and have the potential to drastically reduce wasted commuting time, such as that which is incurred while waiting for transport to arrive, traffic jams and so forth.
Many are sceptical and believe that if nothing else, the cost will prevent drones from ever becoming affordable enough to be used for our daily commutes, but this may not be true. In fact, experts say that the cost of manned drones is much lower than people think and will soon become affordable for individuals, businesses or even governments the world over.
With 16 electric engines, the passenger drone makes very little noise, can travel at high speeds, and with zero emissions, is wholly environmentally friendly. But do you see yourself flying to the office every morning? It may take a while before these vehicles are in regular use, and unless people feel confident travelling in them, it may never happen at all, but the future of flying is certainly changing.