Thursday 5 October 2017

Future of short distance passenger flight is the drone

The world need a buss-sized drone that can replace short flights, specially for transport across water. A passenger drone travelling around 200 km/hr could easily outcompete commercial airlines where flight time for a jet is 1 hour or less due to a drone could take off and land from small spaces near a parking lot with more convenient locations than an airport.

I see a drone with:
- About 4 electrically driven propeller pods each side of a bus shaped body.
- 2 petrol engines to create the power, with separate fuel tanks for security.
- Batteries to boost power at takeoff and enough capacity to land safely if engines cut out.
- Each side would have separate controls for 2+2 pods, so if 1 set cut out the drone could still land safely.
- If landing on water the whole unit would be kept floating by airbags.
- Completely automated flight but a single attendant for safety and to control that eveybody has a ticket and handle unruliness.
- Remotely but cable connected pre-programmed flight destination to avoid possible hijackings.
- Flight controlled by gps, safety by radar and lidar.
- Laser based ground scan to find safe emergency landing spots.
- Around 50 passengers per drone for versatility and about 5-7 tons payload.
- Price for each unit would need to be in the Euro 500k to 1 million bracket to be competitive.

Public interest and safety would be satisfied by the buss-drones beeing owned by regulated entities, and production and maintenance could be strictly controlled. A separate commercial drone-buss flying zone could be regulated for around 500-1000 meters above ground level.

A nicer interior "private jet" version of the drone could be developed to replace helicopters and increase the market. Commuter routes into traffic congested city-centers is another market.

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