An Israeli tech firm is optimistic that it will finally get its 1,500 kg (1.5 tonne) passenger carrying drone off the ground and into the market by 2020.
(Cormorant flying taxi takes off!)
The Cormorant, billed as a flying car, is capable of transporting 500kg (around half a tonne) of weight and traveling at 185 km (115 miles) per hour. It completed its first automated solo flight over terrain in November. Its total price is estimated at $14 million.
Developers Urban Aeronautics believe the dark green drone, which uses internal rotors rather than helicopter propellers, could evacuate people from hostile environments and/or allow military forces safe access.
The Cormorant, about the size of a family car and previously called the 'Air Mule', is yet to meet all Federal Aviation Administration standards and a test in November saw small issues with conflicting data sent by on board sensors.
I read a pretty good description of this device in James Blish's 1957 story Cities in Flight:
The cab came floating down out of the sky at the intersection and maneuvered itself to rest at the curb next to them with a finicky precision. There was, of course, nobody in it; like everything else in the world requiring an IQ of less than 150, it was computer-controlled...
The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics, painted with large red-and-white checkers, with a row of windows running all around it. Inside, there were two seats for four people, a speaker grille, and that was all: no controls and no instruments...
(Read more about the tin cabbie)