Few pieces of modern hardware have inspired as much excitement as the drone. While nonmilitary unmanned aerial vehicles were initially marketed as recreational gadgets, it has not taken long for entrepreneurs and industrial giants to seize on their endless possibilities.
Annual sales in the United States are expected to reach seven million units by 2020, and many are already predicting a future in which drones reshape our cities – through remote delivery of goods, airborne surveillance, or as yet unforeseen applications.
Yet one possibility has captured our collective imagination more than any other: the idea that drones will soon be moving people over cities en masse. Might flying taxis one day pluck us from our front gardens and delicately plop us down outside the cinema or our favorite restaurant?
Before we hail an air cab, let’s consider what it would mean.