“First, the drone flew across the hall and landed on a black parking spot. Then a small car drove itself underneath the drone and its passenger capsule was lifted up to latch onto the underside of the drone. Once the two were docked, the drone lifted off again and flew back to its starting point, where the capsule was lowered onto another set of wheels to continue its journey,” the AP reported.
Despite a successful trial, Airbus executive Jean Brice Dumont, is cautiously optimistic about when UAM will actually become a reality. “I think it will take more than a decade until a real significant, massive deployment of an air taxi system” is ready, he said, and “for this we need to tick a list of boxes. The vehicle is one, safety is the overarching one, infrastructure is one, acceptability is another one.”
Uber, a direct competitor, is more ambitious, however. Last year, the transportation company revealed an artist’s rendering of its passenger drone with the goal of the year 2020 for demonstration flights and 2023 for actual use.