Only 1 in 20 Americans say they would feel safe riding a passenger drone

Remember that publicity stunt back in February when Dubai’s transportation agency chief said that human-ferrying drones would begin transporting people across the city in July?

  1. It is in fact July and those flights haven’t happened yet beyond ongoing tests (though there are still a couple weeks to go). And…
  2. Most people don’t actually want to ride in one anyway.

Research site YouGov conducted a study of American adults and found that only 1 in 20 people said they would feel safe riding in a passenger drone.

Only a quarter of U.S. adults have heard about passenger drones to being with. But after having the concept of passenger drones explained to them, 54% of consumers said they’d feel unsafe riding in one, and only one in 20 people said they’d feel safe.

YouGov passenger drone study
Courtesy of YouGov

And what about owning your own drone? 25% of consumers said they would never be interested in purchasing a passenger drone. 62% said they might be in the future, while 4% said they want one as soon as possible, according to the study.

The study also found that women are more likely than men to consider the idea of flying without a pilot an unsafe proposition.

So what would ease concerns about getting in a driverless drone? 79% of adults said the ability to take control of the drone would need to be an essential feature.

China drone maker Ehang, which also makes the Ehang GhostDrone, was supposed to be the company operating the passenger service in Dubai. The drone supposedly can carry a single person and their luggage weighing up to 220 pounds. Ehang says the drone, which has four rotors, can fly just over 30 miles at speeds of 100 miles per hour. The drone, which is 13 feet wide, is made from reinforced composite material with carbon fiber and epoxy.

Ehang is carrying out test flights at the test site of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority in deserts and coastal environments, according to a YouTube video released on July 5 by Ehang. The company has not returned requests for comments as to when passenger flights will occur.

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