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Geneva to study feasibility of drone taxi service

Drone Taxi

(TheLocal.Ch)— Picking up a flying taxi may sound futuristic but the canton of Geneva hopes it may soon be a reality and help ease traffic congestion in Switzerland’s second largest city.

The cantonal government announced this week that Geneva would take part in a European feasibility study into using drones for personal transportation.

It said that with its ability to innovate, Geneva was the ideal candidate to represent Switzerland in the European Union-led project.

The project which comes under the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) initiative aims to assess public interest for the idea of drone taxis and whether it is technologically, legally and financially viable.

A drone taxi that holds two people takes a test flight in Amsterdam in April. Photo: Evert Elzinga / ANP / AFP

The ambitious goal of the UAM initiative is to put urban mobility into the third dimension – airspace – given the problems of congestion in Europe’s big cities.

“This project is a first step towards implementing the canton of Geneva drone vision published in November 2017,” said cantonal and city government minister Pierre Maudet, referring to a plan to expand the use of drones.

The canton of Geneva sees itself as a pioneer in this regard, stating that it is one of very few European regions to have developed a clear drone strategy.

“In a region that is growing rapidly and where traffic is becoming more and more saturated, public bodies have the responsibility to explore new ways of addressing the challenges of tomorrow,” said Luc Barthassat, the Geneva transport minister.

The Geneva government will consider the study’s findings in the first quarter of 2019 and if the results are positive the first air vehicles could be trialled by the end of 2020.

Geneva’s participation in the project has the backing of the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation and air navigation service provider Skyguide.

Taxi drone prototypes by ItalDesign and the Dutch Pal-V Liberty were showcased at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Credit:: TheLocal.Ch

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