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New Autonomous Drone Designed to Ferry Commuters

Meet KITE, an Autonomous Drone concept designed to ferry commuters in the post-covid era. The push for viable electric air taxis has only intensified amid the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in China. Now, an Italian designer has introduced a flying drone concept considered to help Chinese commuters traverse one of its most important industrial hubs in the post-covid era.

Designed by Andrea Ponti, KITE is a fully electric, zero-emission, autonomous drone that can carry up to four people. Ponti envisions it connecting the regions of China’s Greater Bay Area. This area, which is comprised of nine cities and two special administrative regions, will be key to reviving the country’s economy after the pandemic, and Kite represents a potential new way to get tourists and workers to the megalopolis sans emissions.

Inspired by the black kite, Hong Kong’s most familiar bird of prey, the aircraft has a 150cm wing span, is fast, agile and intelligent just like its muse. It sports a composite material fuselage that is rounded and compact to minimize drag and optimize maneuverability during flight. Propulsion comes in the form of four double-helix rotors, which allow Kite to hover, climb, descend and turn. The aircraft also features LED headlights to help with landing and low-altitude flying. On the ground, it docks onto a platform for embarking/disembarking and recharging in between flights.

Inside, the layout is similar a private jet. The cabin, which is accessed through the rear, sees a central aisle with two single seats along each side. The seats can recline and they feature a polycarbonate shell, with soft fabric cover and leather cushions.  Retractable tray tables are integrated into the armrest and two rear screens that display all the pertinent information. There is also under-seat storage for carry-on items and space behind the back seats for larger bags.

“With its sophisticated design, composite materials and advanced technology, Kite is a sustainable and attractive alternative to more traditional forms of air or land transport,” Ponti said in a press release.