Startups are testing the coming breed of urban air mobility aircraft in their back lots and hangars. The harder part could be convincing potential passengers that these aircraft, with their whirling rotors, electric power and control algorithms, can safely deliver them to the airport or home from work. Sarah Wells tells the story.
If consumers are going to receive packages by air to their doorsteps or hop onto aircraft to zip across town, engineers must figure out how to make these coming aircraft more resilient to bad weather than today’s early versions. Dennis Bushnell of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia explains.
The devastating wildfires that ended earlier this year in Australia have energized those in the United States who have long believed that optionally piloted helicopters should be the next great weapon against wildfires. Jan Tegler tells the story.
Startups and their government allies are in the midst of birthing an entire new mode of commuting. It won’t be easy, despite some very optimistic timelines, but it will be worth it. Aviation attorney Erin I. Rivera predicts the path ahead for urban air mobility.
The fact that the skies aren’t yet filled with delivery drones is deceiving. The revolution has been slow in coming, but in a few places, it’s beginning to happen. Daniel Dubno explores the path ahead for delivery entrepreneurs.
Airport authorities know that they can’t let wayward consumer drones paralyze airports. Companies in the U.S. and abroad have demonstrated a range of technologies for detecting and neutralizing drones, but a consensus has yet to emerge on the best solutions, writes Marc Selinger.
Thousands of commercial drones could someday whisk packages to our doorsteps, spot dangerous pipeline leaks, and inspect bridges and crops. A revolution of that scale would require accepting that drones must fly out of visual range of their operators. That can’t happen unless the FAA approves a scheme for safely managing thousands of drone flights. David Hughes, formerly an FAA writer and editor, gauges progress on UTM, or unmanned aircraft system traffic management.