Israel today announced a $17 million investment in a series of drone trials that could eventually see their widespread use for cargo and even passengers.
Ten companies have been selected to take part in 24 separate month-long pilot projects over the next two years, starting in January 2023.
Some of the projects that will be tested involve the use of large cargo and passenger-carrying heavy drones flying in controlled airspace.
There will be a demonstration of China’s EHang air taxi drones, which are being developed to carry passengers by Israeli air operators. These flights will be carried out without passengers in the preliminary stages until supporting regulatory approval is obtained.
There will also be experiments with with electronic helicopters and with long-range drones that could carry passengers to avoid road congestion in Israel
The trials are being jointly funded by Israel Innovation Authority, Ayalon Highways, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Civil Aviation Authority.
They follow on from two years of drone demonstrations that have already taken place, involving over 15,000 flights.
Among them were collaborations involving IDF’s Home Front Command in Operation “Guardian of the Walls”, Israel Police, and the Tel Aviv Municipality.
Dror Bin, CEO of Israel Innovation Authority: “Israel continues to be a world leader in drone technology. With the end of the first phase of flying drones by different operators in the same managed airspace, Israeli companies are recording impressive commercial achievements in Israel and worldwide.”
Nehemiah (Hemi) Shalem, Acting Director of Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority: “The Civil Aviation Authority (CAAI) is extending the National Drone Initiative for an additional two years while continuing the excellent collaboration with the project partners.”