Autonomous drone being developed for Heathrow passenger shuttle system

A UK start-up company is behind an autonomous vehicle which is designed to shuttle passengers between Heathrow airport and Charing Cross in just 12 minutes, a journey which takes around an hour in a car.

Autonomous Flight hopes its battery-powered pilotless flying vehicle, Y6S, will be ready for test flights with passengers as early as this year. The company believes that passenger drones will be seen above the UK within five years as long as regulatory requirements are met.

The company’s boss and entrepreneur, Martin Warner, hopes the solution will bring a major transport upgrade for UK cities, according to a news report.

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He told Sky News: “One day, absolutely, there’s going to be an air shuttle system and people using autonomous passenger drones or indeed piloted drones as another form of getting to work.

“There are multiple flight redundancies which is multiple uses of technology to ensure that if there is a single point of failure the aircraft will either land or fly you to where you need to be.”

Test flights without passengers on board have already taken place in the UK and Warner believes his vertical take-off and landing aircraft will be commercially affordable.

“The ability to put what we call the Y6S – a two-seater aircraft – in the air for someone to purchase is probably going to be more like a medium price of around $25,000 or £20,000,” he said.

Autonomous Flight is the only company in the UK developing such a pilotless passenger vehicle. Across the Atlantic, Uber struck a deal with NASA to work on a flying taxi project which is due to start testing in 2020.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Tags : airportAutonomousautonomous flightheathrowpassnger droneUK

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