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Air taxis tested for the first time in Israel as part of National Drone Project

Test flight of an air taxi (Photo: Screenshot)

Israel’s National Drone Project tested a so-called air taxi this week for the first time. The test was carried out as part of a preparation of the airspace for autonomous electric drones which reportedly will be capable of transporting both passengers and cargo. 

Israel’s National Drone Project, which is now in its second phase, aims to build a network of autonomous drones to simultaneously deliver commercial goods, and potentially many other items, in addition to passengers, across Israel with the purpose of easing traffic congestion on Israeli roads and highways.

Eleven drone companies participated in the test, which was carried out in a collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Transportation, the Israel Innovation Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority. 

The drone companies that participated in the test earned especially good results, including Cando Drones, Israeli Air and Downwind. Two companies, Dronery and AIR, conducted tests of autonomous drones that can carry up to two passengers. The drone traveled from the Caesarea heliport on Israel's central coast to southern Israel. They drone companies hope to obtain an aviation license from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The National Drone Project has facilitated 19,000 flights with drones in the past three years, as it continues to develop a broader drone infrastructure for Israel. In January, around $60 million was invested for the purpose of such an infrastructure. The plan is that drone companies will continue to conduct weekly flights over the next two years.

The experiment with taxis gained international recognition according to Israel Innovation Authority Director General Dror Bin.

“Israel is one of the global leaders in this field, and today's experiment is an important milestone in the National Drone Initiative which gained international acclaim,” he said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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