Flying Drone Taxis Get Nevada Nod For Testing To Solve Traffic Woes

Kenneth Lim - Author

Jun. 12 2016, Updated 5:44 a.m. ET

Flying drone taxis have become a real possibility after getting the green light from the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) for test flights above the state. This decision comes in the wake of excitement generated by Chinese one-passenger drone prototypes touted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January 6 to 9, 2016.

The buzz about flying drone taxis emanates from the “intelligent aerial vehicles” developed by Guangzhou-based company Ehang and exhibited at the C.E.S. Ehang’s 184 drone has been approved for testing conditional on the NIAS meeting the requirements for such an activity in the coming months.

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According to BBC, Macquarie consultancy senior analyst Douglas McNeill offered his opinion of the flying drone concept. He stressed the need for passengers to feel safe riding pilotless taxis.

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“Drones will first have to prove their worth in less people-facing roles such as deliveries of small cargo. The other question is whether people will be willing to fly in a pilotless aircraft, and that seems like a big leap. People are sensitive to reduced journey times, and if drones could do that it would be a big plus – but I’m not sure that they can. Consumers are led by what regulators say are safe. And if they say these drones are safe, people might be more willing.”

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