We’ve all had those days where we’re stuck in bad traffic – either on the way to work or elsewhere – and wish to ourselves we had our own helicopter. Apart from the prohibitive cost and upkeep and, not to mention the skill and licensing needed to fly one, a helicopter seems like a perfect way to get around. Thankfully, there’s now a way to bypass all these – a passenger drone, like the Astro ELROY.
What exactly is a passenger drone, and how is it different from a regular helicopter? Well, it is, essentially, a drone that looks like a helicopter and large enough to seat 4 – so a lot bigger than your DJI Phantom. Astro says it’s about the size of a compact car, and that it will fit inside most normal sized garage spaces.
The other giveaway is the rotors; they aren’t like they are on a regular helicopter. Instead, there are 8 fixed pitch rotors, just like those found on your everyday drone, but bigger, and powered electrically. There are also no wires, apart from the main power cable; the entire system runs off of fiber optics.
The navigation and flight uses Glass Cockpit Avionics software, which allows you to stick in your location and navigate there using the joystick. You can also utilize the autonomous takeoff and landing equipment, or control it using the touchscreen. Integrated 4G LTE telemetry also makes flying easier, allowing it to send flight info in real-time, display local air traffic (now that’s cool), and even use “situational awareness”. It can even be controlled remotely.
So yeah, it’s a bit more complex than your typical drone. We’re also not quite sure of the legality of thing just yet, or how much it will cost. You can reserve one for yourself online right now, or just keep saving if it’s out of your budget.