What is NASA's nuclear drone

Drone Taxis: The 8 Most Advanced Projects

From Ehang 184 to SureFly to UberAir, Vahana (from Airbus), Joby and Volocopter, here is a selection of the eight taxi-drone projects that have the best prospects of success in the near future.

Ehang 184: this taxi drone will get you anywhere in a jiffy The idea of ​​a personal and autonomous taxi is attractive, especially if it can fly like the Ehang 184. To be fully electric, the vehicle does not require any driving skills. Here it is presented in video.

The development of the drone taxis is currently inspiring with more than a dozen projects. The idea that one day we may break into such devices to make short trips from one point to another in a city still seems difficult to contemplate. But companies as strong as Airbus, Boeingou and Uber also work there and invest considerable resources.

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It is the urban transport of the future that is spreading in front of us, we are certain that it is clean and louder. The question is no longer to know "if", but when the services of drone taxis will appear. The main obstacle to rapid deployment is more legal than technical. To get a better idea of ​​the forces involved, we have made a non-exhaustive selection of the most advanced projects.

1. Ehang 184

Chinese company Ehang recently talked about being the first to carry out tests of passenger autonomy with two UAV taxis, one single-seater, the other two-seater. A total of forty people have already flown on board these aircraft.

See also: The Ehang taxi drone carried its first passengers

The Ehang 184 also fought hard 7, flew in the night fog, climbed 300 meters and traveled 15 kilometers in one train. It is to be tested this summer in Dubai under real conditions.

The taxi drone Ehang 184 during its flight with a passenger. © Ehang

2. Volocopter

The Volocopter project by the German company of the same name provided a live demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) during the Intel conference at the beginning of the year. The gigantic semiconductor device is indeed a technical partner providing the adaptive flight controller and redundant systems that ensure the safety of the aircraft.

See also: Volocopter: The drone taxi flies at CES

The Volocopter is driven by 18 electric rotors; It can carry two people at an average speed of 50 km / h for 30 minutes and peak at 100 km / h. Like the Ehang 184, it has to be tested in Dubai.

3. UberAir

When he unveiled his vertical take-off and landing taxi drone project in 2016, Uber initially aroused disbelief. Meanwhile, other leading players have embarked on the adventure and proven that it wasn't just a phone call.

See also: Uber connects to NASA for its taxi drones

And in January 2017, Uber signed a partnership agreement with NAS to develop an autonomous vehicle traffic management system at low altitudes. If everything goes according to plan, the first tests will take place in several cities in the USA and in Dubai in 2020.

The UberAir Taxi Drone project. © Uber

4. Passenger drone

The Passenger Drone is the band's new kid. The project was presented last September, but the 16 electric rotor planes have already made a flight with a pilot on board (see this YouTube video).

See also: Passenger Drone

The Passenger Drone can transport two people sitting one behind the other with a range of 30 to 35 minutes for a speed of 80 km / h. Performance that may seem modest given the competition's announcement. But the designers of the Passenger Drone make sure their estimates are "realistic" and reflect current battery technology.

The Passenger Drone during a test flight. © Passenger drone

5. Vahana, from Airbus

Just two years after the launch of its Vahana-powered vertical take-off and landing taxi project, Airbus made a full impression with a first test flight. It only took 53 seconds, but such a result in such a short time is auspicious.

See also: Vahana, Airbus' flying taxi, made its first flight

6. Joby

Of all vertical take-off and landing taxi drone projects, Joby Aviation is without a doubt the most spectacular. The five-seater aircraft is equipped with 12 electric tilt rotors at 90 ° to enable the transition from vertical take-off to level flight.

See also: Joby aviation

The Joby will cover more than 150 miles on one charge and promises to be "100 times quieter than conventional aircraft during take-off and landing". Joby Aviationa recently raised $ 100 million from several notable investors including Intel and Toyota.

The drone upright taxi takeoff and landing Joby. © Joby Aviation

7. Lilium Jet

In April 2017, the German company Lilium completed the inaugural flight of its prototype of the vertical take-off and landing aircraft. The machine is equipped with 36 electric motors, some of which are located inside movable flaps on the trailing edge of both wings.

See also: Lilium Jet, the first vertical electric take-off aircraft, takes off its first flight

The aircraft would have a range of 300 km with a top speed of 300 km / h. For example, it could make the Paris-London link in an hour. A version that can carry five people is under development and the first passenger test is planned for next year.

8. SafeFly

SureFly, from the US company Workhorse, performed at the Paris Air Show last year. This two-seat taxi drone is closest to the helicopter with eight counter-rotating four-link propellers.

The SureFly taxi drone. © workhorse

It uses the same electric motors as the BMW i3 and the C660 scooter. Workhorse has just been certified for testing by the Federal Aviation Administration.

See also: SureFly

The company has also partnered with the UPS transport service.

Photos: Top 17 drones, from military to recreational

A drone for beginners, the DJI Phantom The DJI Phantom drone is a licensed drone under which it is possible to customize a mini camera. It weighs 880 grams, measures 17 cm high and 39 x 39 cm on the side. It is operated by a remote control with four AA batteries and is equipped with colored green and red LEDs that indicate the direction of flight. The maximum distance to stay in contact is approximately 1,000 meters. Its speed in level flight is 10 meters per second (m / s) and the vertical speed is 6 m / s.It is equipped with an Intelligent Orientation Control (CIO) system and a GPS. The maximum flight time is between 10 and 15 minutes. If communication between the main controller and the transmitter is lost, the GPS system automatically brings the machine back to its driver and places it on the ground. © Don McCullough, CC of -NC 2.0

MD4-200, a mini drone for professionals This small aircraft is one of the best in its category. Its compact size and the slow rotation speed of its blades ensure great discretion. Thanks to the various sensors that it can be equipped with, it is able to carry out 3D digital recordings, carry out structural inspections, carry out checks with infrared sensors, take photos or artistic aerial photographs, etc. It weighs less than a kilo, has a Flight time of 30 minutes and can lift a load of 200 grams. Its operating height reaches 1,000 meters (while the legislation only allows 150). He can fly in the rain or snow. But its abilities come at a price


11,000 euros! © Thomas Kretzer, public area

The RQ-4 Global Hawk, a military drone The RQ-4 is a surveillance drone developed by Northrop-Grumman for the US Air Force and the US Navy. It is one of the few models that can fly at great heights (around 18,000 meters) and over long distances. Its weight is close to that of a small hunter, 14.6 tons for a span of 14 meters. Its flight time is about thirty hours. The device is unarmed and is currently only used for espionage missions and the location of fixed or mobile targets. It is capable of assisting the armed forces in military operations by locating enemy positions through its electro-optical sensors. More rarely, it can also be used for civil purposes to assess the extent of a natural disaster and thus help to prioritize the implementation of disasters. The device was deployed in January 2013 in support of Operation Serval in Mali. © US Air Force, Bobbi Zapka, Public Domain

A fun mini drone, Hubsan X4 H107C The Hubsan X4 H107C is a quadcopter with a micro camera with a minimalist resolution. It is intended for beginners. Its size makes it fly both indoors and outdoors. It measures 10.7 inches at an angle and 2.9 inches high, excluding the propellers. When taking off, the aircraft is in stationary mode. It reacts quarterly to requests from the remote control very stable. He can do U-turns and loops. The range is only a hundred meters, but it can stay in the air for about twenty minutes. © Stevie Spiers Photography, CC by-nc 2.0

Parrot AR, a toy for adults? The Parrot AR can be controlled from an iPhone or iPod via a Wi-Fi connection and is approximately 50 cm in size. It weighs between 360 and 400 grams, depending on whether it is used outdoors or indoors. It has a range of around fifty meters, and when contact is lost it will descend in successive steps of one meter until it lands on the ground. This drone is extremely stable and supports winds of 15 km, but its autonomy is only about ten minutes. In terms of safety, the blades are programmed to stop immediately upon contact with an object


a finger. © Halftermeyer, CC by-sa 3.0

Control room: drone driver in front of his control screens The aerial drone is the vector of a system that consists of several different elements. First there is the drone, an air vector equipped with detection sensors. There must also be one or more ground stations. They provide flight control, information gathering, and radio data links carried by the air vector via communication relays such as satellites. The operator is responsible for guiding the aerial vector, collecting data in real time, and locating the target to be monitored or destroyed in a military operation. Even if the degree of automation is very high and improves regularly, the decision is the responsibility of the person. © Jason Ridder, public area

The MQ-9 Reaper in flight, a multi-function drone This drone, developed by General Atomics, can only be controlled up to 200 km from its control center or via satellite link. Its wingspan is 20 meters and its length is 11 meters. It can reach a speed of 480 km / h and its range is 1,850 km. Its altitude is 15,200 meters. Combat drone for the US Army and the US Navy, there is a version for border surveillance with Mexico planned to combat drug trafficking and smuggling. An unarmed model full of sensors and cameras is also used by NASA for scientific research. The program was reportedly abandoned in 2003, but the MQ-9 Ikhana was used to monitor fires in California in 2007. © US Air Force, Master Sgt. Robert W. Valenca, public domain

The Hermes 450, an Israeli tactical drone Originally designed as a border surveillance drone, the aircraft can be equipped with two Israeli air-to-surface missiles or the American Hellfire AGM 114. With a wingspan of 10, 50 meters and a little more than 6 meters in length, it is able to carry a maximum load of 600 kg and flies at 5,500 meters above sea level. Its cruising speed does not exceed 150 km / h. Hermes 450 was used by the US Department of Defense for border control in 2004. It can stay in flight for about twenty hours, but the data relay range is only 150 km. © Gérald L. Nino, public area

The IAEA Hexacopter, a six-engine nuclear drone The Laboratory for Nuclear Science and Instrumentation has developed a drone for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It is equipped with sensors that measure and measure radioactivity. The first model was used over the Japanese Daiichi Fukujima facility for radiation detection. It avoids human exposure to deadly radiation. It can also be used to measure air pollution. © IAEA Imagebank, CC by-nc 2.0

The Ar Drone 2.0 release at sunset The Ar Drone 2.0 is one of Parrot's most popular devices. In this picture, the camera is presented in its outfit, i.e. without the protective cover of the rotors, which allows it to absorb shocks in the event of theft in a room. It is equipped with a GPS and two cameras. The first is in the front and the second is under the drone, but the quality of the images is irrelevant. The autonomy is pretty weak. A slight handicap is largely offset by extreme maneuverability. © Lee, CC of-nc 2.0

The MQ-8 Fire Scout, a helicopter drone The four-bladed helicopter-like machine built by Northrop Grumman for the US Army and his little brothers were used for reconnaissance missions in Afghanistan. It is the only vertical launch UAV that flies to biofuel. Its unique turbine develops 420 hp. The diameter of the rotor is 8.38 meters, its length 6.98 meters and its height 2.87 meters. An 8B version is in service in the US Navy and an upcoming 8C version will be used for electronic warfare. © Jrfreeland, public area

The X47 B, a drone with a sea foot The X 47 drone is available in several versions. Designed by the Northrop Grumman Group, these gears are for the US Army and Navy. They have a triangular shape of the flying wing. The X47 A, the first exclusively terrestrial model, has a wingspan of 6 meters. The X47 B model, intended for the navy and suitable for landing, has a lifting height of 19 meters. Its length is 11.63 meters, and its height is 3.10 meters. It has a range of 3,900 kilometers with a maximum limit of 12,200 meters. Its speed is greater than Mach 0.9. A third version, the X47 C, with a wingspan of 52 meters and a payload of up to 4.5 tons is currently being investigated. © US Air Force, Chris Neill, Public Domain

The RQ7 Shadow, the catapult drone The RQ7 Shadow is a military drone that can fly and land at short distances. The drone placed on the catapult is an RQ7 Shadow used by the US Army, Marine Corps, Australian and Swedish armies. It is used for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and combat damage assessment. It is launched from a pneumatic catapult on a trailer. There are several versions, the autonomy of which is approximately 7 hours. Driven by a 38 hp engine, the cruising speed is 110 km / h. The wingspan of the aircraft is 4.27 meters with a length of 3.40 meters. The maximum laden mass is 170 kg with an empty weight of 75. It can cover an intervention brigade for 4 hours and has a range of 125 km. Landing occurs automatically with the help of a system of hooks and cables similar to aircraft carriers. © Latvijas Armija, CC of-nc 2.0

The game of drones: a shot of a drone We mostly know drones for their use in the military or in some companies to control the state of the infrastructure. The popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles is phenomenal and these machines are also very popular with the general public, especially if they are equipped with a camera or camera. The individual can thus take unpublished images and view landscapes through the lens that could not have been captured without a passenger plane or a helicopter with a pilot. However, the use of a drone with camera equipment is prohibited without the approval of the DGAC. © Thierry Weber, CC von-nc 2.0

The MQ-1 Predator, an explosive drone The MQ-1 Predator, manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, was developed primarily for military reconnaissance missions by the US military. It was first used in combat operations in the Balkans in 1995. It has not stopped on the battlefields since then. The last official "exit" took place in February 2013 in Mali. The machine is 14.8 meters wide, 8.22 meters long and 2.1 meters high. Equipped with two laser guided missiles AGM-114 Hellfire, it has a range of 1250 km, can reach the ceiling height of 7,620 meters and fly at a cruising speed of 130 km / h.It is powered by a 115 hp turbo engine that drives a propeller at the rear. © US Air Force, Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt, Public Domain

The X-37 B, a space drone The "X" device built by Boeing is part of the US experimental secret programs. The X-37 B drone, which takes on the aspect of a mini space shuttle without a crew, is certainly the one that raises the most questions given the mystery that surrounds it. It's 8.38 meters long and has a wingspan of only 4.57 meters. Its takeoff weight can reach 5 tons. It will be propelled into space by a launcher from the Cape Canaveral, Florida base. Military Version B was launched on December 11, 2012 and remained in low orbit space for 674 days before landing at the Vandenberg, California military base on October 17, 2014. © United States Air Force, Public Domain

The Sperwer B, a French-made drone The Sperwer B is a tactical drone that is still made by Sagem Défense Sécurité. The aircraft is a delta winged unmanned aircraft. Powered by a pneumatic catapult, it is powered by a two-stroke 65 hp two-stroke engine that activates a four-blade propeller. With a wingspan of 4.2 meters, it is 3.5 meters long and 1.3 meters high. Its maximum altitude is 3,800 meters for a range of only 180 km. The Sperwer B used by the French army is unarmed. It is intended for the implementation of missions of observation, monitoring and adaptation of artillery fire. © David Monniaux, CC by-sa 3.0

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