We’ve seen incredible advances in personal pubic transport through the like of ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Bolt, and we’re seeing massive development on the self-driving front as well. The problem with all of these options though is that they are still confined by the limits of the road and the inevitable traffic that comes with it. What would be really cool, would be to catch a lift that can bypass all of that for you and get you to your destination really fast.
There is a new start-up in the US that is working on solving such a problem, by creating an autonomous helicopter transport system. Because why drive when you can fly? Called Skyryse, the company is working on the self-flying technology with the hopes of eventually finding space in the air-taxi market which they hope will become the next big thing. Rather than building helicopters from scratch though they are utilising existing aerial vehicles and then modifying them with new technology, as they showcase in this video:
Skyryse is taking a more pragmatic approach by demonstrating its technology inside of helicopters that are in wide use today. The company refits existing consumer-grade certified aircraft and technologies with its software and hardware suite. As they revealed in a recent interview with The Verge:
Each component of the system works in triplicate with airline-grade, fail-operational technology to ensure that automation functions remain operational at all times, even in the presence of equipment failures
The equipment makes use of a variety of sensors both in the helicopter and on the ground helipads to provide accurate take-off and landing, along with these ground sensors communicating changes in the weather or identification of low-flying objects or birds to better help it navigate the air.
They still have a long way to go before I would trust a robot to fly me somewhere completely unaided, but it does show the remarkable progress being made in this department. Given the scarcity of helipads around, the likelihood of air-taxis becoming a big thing outside of the circles of the mega-rich is also probably unlikely. If over time they can work on streamlining helicopter designs then who knows? It could become a reality. Though hopefully teleportation becomes a thing during my lifetime because that’s really how I want to travel.
Last Updated: December 19, 2019