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Feb 6, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Drones, flying vehicles: airspace management becoming a big issue in the USA

Flying car prototypes are springing up left, right and centre courtesy of the big names in the automobile and transport sectors, making it theoretically possible for individual vehicles to be used at altitude. The sky may well become a busier place, with drones becoming ever more popular. 

 

Developments in the new generation of flying craft are coming thick and fast, and as such the US authorities are looking to relax the rules governing drones, according to French website Tom Travel. At the same time, a number of the big names in the automotive industry and the private transport sector are developing prototypes which could make flying cars a reality one day. 

 

Flying Uber by 2023 ? 

 

At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which was held in Las Vegas 8 – 12 January, Uber created quite a buzz with Elevate, an airborne taxi designed in conjunction with Bell. It is half-helicopter, half-drone, and could eventually transport its passengers at speeds of up to 320 km/h. It is slated for release by 2023 and could solve a number of traffic issues in the world’s biggest cities. 

On the other side of the world in Japan, cars which can take to the skies are also on plenty of companies’ drawing boards. Toyota-backed engineers are currently looking into a model of a plane to light the flame at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. 

 

Growing number of incidents 

 

While cars like these are not yet flying above cities, drones are becoming more and more prevalent, with an increased risk of incidents. Last December, London’s Gatwick Airport was forced to close down briefly for security reasons after a number of drones were spotted close by. Similar incidents then occurred at Heathrow Airport on the other side of the UK capital. 

"We are faced with an evolving threat, and actions that most of the time are accidental are becoming increasingly malicious, with the risk of the traffic of contraband, terrorism and spying," says security expert Thomas Gueudet. 

 

More freedom for drones 

 

Despite this, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is suggesting no longer making it obligatory for users of drones to request authorisation for each fight. The US body is also recommending that craft of this type fly over concerts and sporting events, under certain conditions.

 

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