An Israeli-made electric vehicle designed to carry passengers on short trips on busy streets with cars has made its first drone flight, a milestone the developer says will help it reaches the market in the next two years.
At first, the flight in the pilot phase may not seem out of the ordinary due to the tremendous advances made in drone technology. Another propeller plane flew vertically off the ground and then darted forward in the sky.
But this vehicle, developed by Israeli startup AIR, will be able to carry two people – a driver and a passenger – for up to 100 miles on a single charge, the company said. AIR, and many of its competitors around the world, are betting that this type of travel will eventually become popular.
“This is an important milestone,” said CEO and co-founder Rani Plaut. “Today, we’ve moved on to a transitional flight. Bringing (closer) our dream of mass production AIR ONE.”
There are still significant hurdles to overcome before people can fly themselves through cities in small vehicles like these – including creating regulations and commercializing the technology.
Plaut said the next phase of AIR testing is to have people on board.
He expects the electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, or eVTOL, to hit the market by the end of 2024 with a base price of $150,000. Plaut said the average daily speed would be about 100 mph (160 kph) at 1,200 feet (366 m).
Date of first publication: December 21, 2022, 18:22 pm IST