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Airborne's Annual April 1st Episode

Mon, Jan 09, 2017

Passenger Drone May Be Available By 2020

Urban Aeronautics Has Been Developing The Aircraft For 15 Years

An Israeli tech firm believes it can realistically get a 3,000 pound passenger-carrying UAV into production by 2020, according to the company.

Called the Cormorant, the aircraft recently demonstrated the ability to follow terrain autonomously. The company envisions the aircraft being used as an air ambulance or for evacuation in times of natural or man-made disasters.

Reuters reports that while the company is optimistic that the aircraft can be on the market in three years, there is still a lot of work to be done. The aircraft is about the size of a family sedan and uses ducted fans to produce lift and thrust. It can carry about 1,100 pounds and has a range of some 100 nautical miles.

The aircraft has not yet been certified by the FAA, and in the November test, there were some discrepancies noted in the data sent by the Cormorant's onboard sensors, according to the report.

Urban Aeronautics holds some 39 patents for the aircraft's systems, so founder and CEO Rafi Yoeli told Reuters that he has few concerns about another company beating him to market with a similar aircraft.

(Image from file)



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