Autonomous flying cars may seem like an image out of a science fiction movie, but the technology already physically exists: Dubai began testing electric taxi drones in September 2017.
Similar to a two-seater helicopter, the Volocopter taxi is designed for 30-minute flights to and from ‘voloports,’ which are basically train stations for flying taxis. But, despite the tests, experts agree: Autonomous flying taxis almost certainly won’t get off the ground as a commercially viable reality in 2018.
“Anything beyond early prototype testing — and even that would be nothing more than a novelty — on this in the US in 2018 is highly unlikely,” Carl Doty, vice president of emerging technology research at Forrester, said.
Regulatory issues and consumer mindsets are the two biggest barriers, experts say. A September 2017 Gartner research report labeled flying autonomous vehicles as “the next big thing that isn’t.”