How Could Flying Drones Help A City’s Traffic Problems?

There’s no doubt that flying drones would have trouble getting off the ground into the mainstream. Why? Because in the United States, the FAA controls the skies. Even basic drones have to be registered with the FAA before they can be legally used, let alone drones being used to transport people. There would have to be many things figured out and sorted before drones could legally transport people. Could it actually happen?

What Is A Flying Drone?

A flying drone is a small object with propellers big enough to fit one or more people and fly in the air similar to an airplane, at much lower altitude. Another way to put it is a much bigger quadcopter drone, which is a drone with 4 propellers on it. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s basically a small-sized helicopter. There would have to be enough room to fit a person, an engine, battery, and propellers. There probably wouldn’t be much space for storage as that adds to the weight of the drone, meaning it wouldn’t be able to fly as long.

How Does A Flying Drone Work?

A flying drone, or at least my version of a flying drone, uses an electric motor combined with a battery pack. It would use both the electric motor and the battery with propellers to launch the drone into the air. From there it could accelerate forward to go to the destination. One of the biggest problems right now with flying drones is the battery pack, in relation to how long it could last flying. The battery pack is generally heavy, requiring more power from the motor thus depleting the batteries quicker. The best way this could be resolved is to increase the number of cells in each battery pack instead of adding a whole bunch of batteries. The less weight the drone has, the longer the drone can fly on the same battery pack capacity.

Charging a flying drone would work in a very similar way how electric cars are charged. It would park in a parking spot and hook up to a charger at that spot designed for drones. This would be very useful as far as being able to charge while at work.

Where Would Flying Drones Take Off And Land?

Currently there are not many places a flying drone could take off or land in the city. Cities would have to come up with a plan for how they would handle this. If cities want people to be able to use drones to reduce traffic congestion on streets, they will need to figure out a way where people can safely take off, fly, and land.

I have some ideas for this. Every city has either open parking lots or parking garages, with many parking spaces not being utilized. In the case of a parking garage, cities can either add a roof or use the existing top deck (if it’s generally not used) for take off, storing, and landing the flying drone. Drones could easily be parked in already existing parking spaces, and no extra infrastructure expenses would be required there.

How Would Drones Be Stored?

For those living in the suburbs this is an easy answer: The garage, driveway, or on the street (if allowed). But what about those that live in the city, where there are several buildings over 3 stories tall and more importantly, ones without garages or places to store them? The short answer: Designated garages either built or converted for drone usage. Now that doesn’t have to be the only answer to the problem, but it would certainly help significantly.

Why Don’t We Have Flying Drones Now?

There have been several flying drones that are being tested and in production as I’m writing this post. However, it is not mainstream and very few people actually own one. Why? Well, for one they’re expensive because it’s not mass produced. Until more competitors jump in and prices are significantly reduced, then we won’t be seeing many drones flying over our heads. Flying drones also don’t have a long battery life just yet, but this is only a temporary problem. With more scientific advances this can easily be corrected, it could be years however before we would see any of those changes.

Looking Beyond Flying Drones For Transportation

Could flying drones actually be used for something different than transportation? Yes they can – and I’m not talking about the drones that are used for surveillance or military strikes. Flying drones can easily be unmanned and fly itself, turning the space needed for a person into a storage area. The main idea I have in mind is for emergency situations. Remember Hurricane Harvey and how it flooded the majority of the roads in the greater Houston area? These drones could carry emergency supplies where vehicles could not go. It could also attempt individual rescues as well, and either transport them to safety or to the nearest hospital that’s open. There’s already been talk about using drones to deliver food, and that could certainly be a thing, especially in the suburbs.

There’s a lot of uses that drones could serve to the benefit of mankind. Emergency networks for transportation modes should always be developed outside ambulances, helicopters, and boats (if near water). And they should also be developed for people attempting to flee an area, such as wildfires out West and hurricanes/tropical storms on the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. Whenever a natural disaster hits, we are always under-prepared. Roads get backed up so far to the point no one can escape. All ambulances and emergency personnel are taken during times like these. Electricity goes out. Water gets contaminated. Cell phone service is spotty. It’s time for this to change, and not be a country that reacts to disasters, but is prepared at all times.

Brian Cole

I'm Brian and I'm the founder of TransportationOfTomorrow.com. I have a strong passion for fixing America's transportation infrastructure problem and traffic flow issues. I ultimately want to see the American economy grow as far as it will go, create massive amounts of jobs, and in that way help the quality of how people live.

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