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Flying taxis could take off in two years under new drones plan

The first piloted flying taxi could take to the UK skies in two years.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has released its Future of Flight Action Plan which also proposes flying taxis without pilots on board by 2030.

It has also predicted regular use of crime-fighting drones and critical 999 care deliveries by the end of the decade.

The "roadmap" - or more precisely flight plan - would mean the adoption of technology "once confined to the realm of sci-fi", according to the DfT, with drone technology boosting the country's economy by £45bn by 2030.

Aviation and technology minister Anthony Browne said: "Cutting-edge battery technology will revolutionise transport as we know it - this plan will make sure we have the infrastructure and regulation in place to make it a reality.

"From flying taxis to emergency service drones, we're making sure the UK is at the forefront of this dramatic shift in transportation, improving people's lives and boosting the economy."

Across the Atlantic, New York City mayor Eric Adams unveiled a similar plan in November last year to use electric air taxis by 2025/26 to fly people to and from the city's airports.

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The proposals would allow drones to fly Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) so the sector can grow without limiting the skies for other aircraft.

They also aim to reinvigorate smaller aerodromes by setting out how they can operate as vertiports for electric aircraft that take off vertically (known as electric vertical take-off and landing or eVTOL aircraft).

The plans aim to build on current uses of drone technology, such as the use by West Midlands Police to tackle violent crime and anti-social behaviour.

In July 2023, a drone team successfully identified two offenders and another suspect at a speed and distance that would have taken ground officers hours to track down.

In the NHS, drone service provider Skyfarer has partnered with University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and Medical Logistics UK to test drones to deliver surgical implants and pathology samples between sites, cutting delivery times by up to 70%.