Matt Chasen, the chief executive of LIFT Aircraft will have to use the ‘Hexa’, his startup’s electric powered manned drone for 15-minute flights across a lake outside Austin, Texas, for $249 a ride as it has not yet been approved for transport. However, he sees them as a progression towards an innovation in urban transportation.
Chasen vouches that it will take a long time to accomplish, but the scope is great to compete with companies such as Uber, Airbus and Volocopter, who are already into this stream. He says that, customers wanting to take a ride in the Hexa will undergo basic training, including safety videos and VR simulator training for up to an hour. One would not require a pilot’s license to fly the Hexa.
Hexa is controlled by a joystick mounted in the cockpit and stabilized by a flight computer. It can bear a maximum weight of 250 lbs. An augmented reality display shows safety information. It can even be remotely operated by flight controllers, in case of an emergency. The aircraft maxes out around 60 mph at top speed and can even land on water, owing to air cushioned floats. No professional skills are required to fly the Hexa. Safety setups ensure that when one lets go of the joystick, it’ll just hover in mid-air. Plus, it automatically returns to the launch sites, once the battery goes below a certain level.
Chasen thinks that the Hexa could be one option for transport, to fly for 10 minutes rather than driving for 90 minutes.