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UK firm developing autonomous passenger drone


British firm Autonomous Flight is working on an autonomous passenger drone that could cover the distance from Charing Cross train station to Heathrow airport in 12 minutes.

According to Sky News, founder Martin Warner says the two-seater Y6S could be ready for testing with passengers as early as this year. Early flights without humans on board have taken place near the border of Kent and Surrey.

There are other firms working on passenger drone technology, many of them located in Asia. Dubai tested a flying taxi service in September, while Uber has teamed up with NASA to begin testing drones in 2020. So far, Autonomous Flight is the only UK company developing the technology.

Warner told Sky News he believes the Y6S will cost around £20,000. He said Autonomous Flight has made safety and cyber security its priority in developing the drone and thinks the vehicles could be a regular sight in UK skies within the next five years so long as regulatory requirements are met.

The technology could face resistance after several near-miss incidents with commercial aircraft forced the government to review the penalties for drones caught in no-fly zones.

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