North Carolina Department of Transportation has announced the success of the first unmanned air taxi demonstration, the department said.
More than 100 spectators, including Governor Roy Cooper and Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon, gathered in Raleigh to witness North America´s first demonstration of an autonomous air taxi.
The autonomous aerial vehicle flew in front of a crowd gathered at the State Highway Patrol Facility/Aviation Hangar in Raleigh. Due to Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, the demonstration flight was unmanned, but the EH 216 can carry two adult, non-pilots.
The autonomous aerial vehicle is designed to function as a taxi service delivering people on pre-programmed routes. The aircraft has been flown in other parts of the world, but it has never been demonstrated for the public in North America.
In 2019, the state helped launch the first-ever commercial drone delivery service, shipping medical samples and supplies at Raleigh´s WakeMed Hospital. The NC Department of Transportation has won numerous awards in recent years for its groundbreaking use of drones to expedite the response and recovery efforts during Hurricane Florence.