Story 2015-08-13 H8PJ NASA Langley pursuing electric 'personal air vehicles'

NASA Langley pursuing electric 'personal air vehicles'

in science on (#H8PJ)
While companies look to deliver packages in a matter of minutes using drone technology, NASA engineers are exploring ways to bring similar "on-demand mobility" to people. In less than a decade, small commuter airlines could be flying electric planes. And as aircraft design and battery technology progress to extend even greater ease of use to the public, the sky would literally become the limit.

A key technology that NASA and its commercial partners are developing to help drive the future toward such personal air vehicles, as well as vastly improve general-aviation aircraft and commercial delivery services, is called "distributed electric propulsion." It's a rapidly evolving technology that Moore says is the biggest shift in aerospace technology since the invention of the turbine engine. By using battery-powered motors to turn compact propellers distributed along an aircraft's wing, he said, a plane becomes easier to handle, lighter, less noisy and more environmentally friendly. Demonstrator tests are showing as much as a 500 percent reduction in the energy needed to perform a high-speed cruise. It can also perform better in a tricky vertical take-off or landing.
Reply 11 comments

Registration (Score: 1)

by on 2015-08-13 13:49 (#H9C3)

I can see this getting to the point where drones will require registration like cars. Maybe even to the point where a licence is required to fly a drone in built up areas. A transponder system perhaps.. no respose equals dead flying machine.

Re: Registration (Score: 1)

by on 2015-08-13 19:51 (#HAGQ)

More than that, congestion pricing. So as the airspace gets more crowded during peak times, a toll is charged automatically to anyone flying.

Of course, there will always be a rouge element that refuses to install and use a required chip to enable all of this registration and toll charges. Just like there are millions of unregistered cars with unlicensed drivers in them today. But, unless you are driving an old drone, or built or modified an existing on to disable the system, you should be good.

Re: Registration (Score: 1)

by on 2015-08-13 23:14 (#HAZW)

Then they will build a device to detect drones and scan for chips. Fail x times and the drone is reported. Or tracked back Home probably. Just like today with licence plate scanning.

Re: Registration (Score: 1)

by on 2015-08-14 14:46 (#HCWQ)

Yup. It won't be much different than today, but I Imagine it may be more difficult to track down unregistered drone owners. Unless they decide to disable them when detected or something. I can see the Washington DC area outfitted with anti drone technology that "shoots" first and asks questions later. Not sure if they can all be taken down with lasers or Radio signal jamming or hard rubber projectiles would be needed.

Re: Registration (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-08-14 15:29 (#HD1F)

We come in peace! Shoot to kill..

Re: Registration (Score: 1)

by on 2015-08-18 13:26 (#HQS7)

On the grounds they can be considered, simultaneously, a security threat AND a nuisance to commerce, I can imagine there would be decent support for a policy that allows law enforcement officers to blow them the fuck out of the sky with superior firepower.

You've currently got douchebags flying their drones around supposedly sensitive public monuments etc., filming their neighbors having sex by the pool, and getting in the way of air traffic. Inconsiderate drone operators are going to very soon spoil the party and cause government to open up the can of whoop-ass.

Re: Registration (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-08-18 22:42 (#HSDM)

Flying where? Filming what? Geez. Drones. Nice to see you, bye bye. Given that behaviour they will make it like flying remote control planes. Fines. Preregistration. Technology to identity location of controller. Arrests. What utter pricks the human race can be. What is next? Strapping a bomb to one? Packing one with chilli powder to drop on a crowd? As a civilisation we suck.