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Being used practically in everything from military operations to recreation, drones and UAVs have come a long way in the past ten years. As the years go by and the technology advances further, it has become only a matter of time until Unmanned Aerial Systems will be the next mainstream form of transportation.
A Japanese company has been aiming to do just that. In an effort to become a leader in the passenger drone industry, NEC Corp pushed itself a tiny bit closer to that goal when it has demonstrated its human-sized quadcopter at a testing facility near Tokyo.
The battery powered drone has managed to stay in the air for about a minute, long enough to prove the feasibility of the technology. The drone flew at an altitude of about 10 feet, making it the first demonstration of such a vehicle by a Japanese company. NEC Corp’s partner, Cartivator, hopes to begin mass producing the drone by 2026.
Considering Tokyo’s high population density, passenger drones are expected to be a great investment. The Japanese government is hoping to allow human transportation in such vehicles within the upcoming decade.
However there is still a long way to go before reaching those goals. Aside from strengthening the drone’s battery life, regulations and safety protocols need to be determined before any passenger drone can routinely lift off the ground.
The flying machine weighs about 150 kilograms and is about 3.9 meters long, 3.7 meters wide, and 1.3 meters tall.
Engadget.com mentions that the Japanese company isn’t the only one to invest in autonomous flying vehicles. Countries such as the UAE, New Zealand, and Singapore are all hoping to enter the industry, as well as private companies such as Uber, Geely, and Kitty Hawk.
However considering how Cartivator already has a government permit for outdoor flight, NEC seems to hold an edge compared to its international rivals.