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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Is it a bird?  is it a plane? No, it's another flying passenger drone

Called simply the Passenger Drone, the newcomer claims to have flown with people on board and say it could soon come to the UAE

New passenger drone claims manned flight
New passenger drone claims manned flight

You wait forever for an autonomous passenger drone – and then three come along at once.

The newest entry to what is rapidly becoming a crowded market has just been announced, with claims that this is the most advanced so far.

Called simply the Passenger Drone, the makers of the same name say they have already conducted the first flights with people on board and will be looking for customers in the UAE with a price tag below six figures.

Testing with actual passengers, they say has put them ahead of rivals Velocopter and the Ehang 184.

In appearance, the Passenger Drone is similar to the appearance of the Velocopter, which released footage of its first unmanned trial in Dubai this month, with the aim of creating the world’s first flying taxi service in partnership with the RTA.

It features 16 electric rotors, is built of carbon fibre and is controlled entirely by fibre optics.

"We've been working on this project for three years, but didn't want to make a big noise about our product until we were sure it was working fine," Peter Delco, one of the partners in the project told The National.

Passenger Drone says tests flights took place in May, with the first passenger on board in August, with “amazing feedback” according to the official press release.

According to Mr Delco, his version is small enough to fit in a typical household carriage. With mass production, he believes it could go on sale for less than US$100,000 and could be used by individuals as an alternative to the car, as well as for public transport.

The company says it hope to bring demonstration models to the UAE by the end of the year.

Its video shows the aircraft flying several feet above a field with a single person on board, although the commercial variant has two seats.

Passengers can either decide where they want to fly by drawing the route on a touch screen, or rely on remote operators on the ground.

If the Passenger Drone does make it to the UAE, the market for autonomous flying vehicles could soon be as potentially as busy at the skies above it..