Home Society & Culture NEC Tests Passenger Drone in 1-Minute Long Flight, Government Hopes to Have People Riding Drones by 2030s [Video]

NEC Tests Passenger Drone in 1-Minute Long Flight, Government Hopes to Have People Riding Drones by 2030s [Video]

4 min read
Comments Off on NEC Tests Passenger Drone in 1-Minute Long Flight, Government Hopes to Have People Riding Drones by 2030s [Video]
3,074

It’s not a flying car!

On Monday (08/05) the Japanese electronics company NEC unveiled a prototype of a passenger drone during a test that had the vehicle take flight for approximately a minute.

The tethered quadcopter-style prototype took flight from within a safety cage at a test facility in the city of Abiko in Chiba Prefecture.

Rising to a height of about 10 feet the roughly 14 foot long, four foot tall, and 330 lb unmanned vehicle was able to stay in the air without any apparent complications.

Though the first such test of its kind by a Japanese company it appears that these kinds of tests will soon be occurring on a much more regular basis due to a plan laid out by the Japanese government that hopes to have drones like the prototype tested on Monday in use by the year 2023. Further, NEC’s partner in this passenger drone project, Cartivator, is aiming to start mass production of similar drones in 2026. Ultimately, it is hoped that full commercialization of passenger drones is able to take place in the 2030s.

Despite these very exciting plans that seem to imply we may be about a decade away from having unmanned taxi drones flying through the streets of Tokyo, there still remain many hurdles that all those involved will have to overcome before this dream becomes a reality. While just about every aspect of the technology used in these passenger drones still has to be significantly improved before commercialization becomes feasible, it may ultimately be the many rules and regulations that will have to be enacted which will prove the bigger challenge. Nevertheless, progress on the passenger drone front certainly seems like it will be something interesting to keep on eye on in the coming years.

On an interesting side note, it should be pointed out that a majority of both Japanese and English-language news outlets called NEC’s prototype a “flying car.” This appears to be because NEC themselves dubbed their prototype this. However, this naming is quite misleading. Unlike a true flying car, this vehicle cannot use wheels to travel along the ground. Instead, it can only use its four propellers to travel just like the smaller quadcopter drones that anyone can purchase today.

To watch the entire test flight of NEC’s prototype passenger drone, check out the video below.

 

Source: ANN News, Engadget (Japanese), Engadget (English)
Image:

Comments are closed.

Check Also

The Real Reason I Walked from Kyoto to Tokyo | Japan Station 124

  On this episode of Japan Station, we talk about why I decided to walk the old Tokai…