April 29, 2019

Concept craft ideal for island hopping that could carry four passengers up to 434 miles

Jet setters could soon be flying off to holiday destinations on a pilotless passenger aircraft. Online travel agency Kiwi.com
Jet setters could soon be flying off to holiday destinations or island hopping on a pilotless passenger aircraft.

Online travel agency Kiwi.com has partnered with Czech aero technology company Zuri to develop a concept that could fly completely unmanned. 

Developers hope the prototype will be able to fly up to 434 miles (698 km)- the equivalent of flying from London to Germany. 

Similar to drones, it would use vertical take off and landing (VTOL) technology, and be powered using eight electromotors. 
Similar to drones, it would use vertical take off and landing (VTOL) technology, and be powered using eight electromotors.  

The concept craft is expected to carry up to four passengers, according to Zuri which is  looking to produce a functional prototype with the initial investment.

Autonomous aircraft and technologies could help cut costs for airlines by reducing the number of crew and opening up the potential option of a single pilot operation.


Plane manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing are racing to develop artificial intelligence that will one day enable computers to fly planes. 

Zuri's plane is expected to be able to travel on a pre-programmed route up to 700km (434 miles) - the equivalent of London to Germany.

The plane would have a wing span of roughly 36 feet (11m) and would weigh only 900kg (141 stone). 

The VTOL technology means the plane can land vertically, so not as much space as a regular plane is needed, meaning you could land in more places. Its design combines the advantages of helicopters and aircraft, with electrically driven rotors that allow vertical takeoff and landing
The VTOL technology means the plane can land vertically, so not as much space as a regular plane is needed, meaning you could land in more places. 

Its design combines the advantages of helicopters and aircraft, with electrically driven rotors that allow vertical takeoff and landing 

According to the Zuri website, the plane would be ideal for travelling between islands as customers wouldn't need to worry about changing from commercial flights to boats, taxis or car rides. 


 Oliver DlouhĂ˝, Kiwi.com's CEO and Co-Founder said: 'The Zuri project represents a direction that I see as key in the future of transport and our investment is proof of that. 

'This segment is practically nonexistent, although it is one of the main elements in both the first and the last stage of transport.

'Intertwined with the global transportation network, it will bring completely new options for travelling by adding thousands of smaller cities into the airports' catchment areas by extending these by the radius of up to 700 kilometres.' 

But pilotless or single pilot operation of airplanes won’t be easy in an industry where at least two pilots in the cockpit is mandatory.

Many airlines around the world made this a rule after a Germanwings pilot flew an plane into the French Alps in March 2015, killing all 150 people on board.  

It’s also unclear whether passengers or their insurers or carriers would accept or permit it, according to aviation experts.

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