Drone ‘bus’ able to carry 40 people at a time will let New Yorkers fly to the Hamptons for just $85 – a fraction of the cost of a helicopter – but start-up creators say it won’t be ready until 2024


  • A startup is designing a drone bus to compete with public transportation
  • The vehicle would be capable of carrying 40 people, plus a pilot.
  • First route set to carry passengers from Manhattan to Hampton
  • A 30-minute flight will cost $85 and is scheduled to start in 2024
  • Other routes include San Francisco to Los Angeles and Paris to London.

While Uber Elevate plans to launch an air taxi service for up to four passengers in 2023, the New York-based startup is thinking big by developing a drone bus for 40 people.

Kelekona recently unveiled plans for a massive Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing Craft (EVTOL) to transport people between cities, with the first route to Manhattan and the Hamptons.

This flight will take just 30 minutes and cost passengers $85 – the same price as a train ticket.

The firm is eyeing 2024 for its first passenger flights and plans to expand to various regions soon, including London to Paris and Los Angeles to San Francisco. .

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Kelekona recently unveiled plans for a massive Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing Craft (EVTOL) to transport people between cities, with the first route to Manhattan and the Hamptons.

Founder Brayden Kelekona told digital trends The company’s main competitor is public transport, as many passengers hit the road, board trains or wait in line for a bus when starting a holiday or weekend break.

And it seems fitting that the first route will be in New York.

“We have a really small airfield in New York,” Kelecona told the news outlet.

‘We didn’t see any point in building a small plane that was only capable of carrying six people.

The firm is eyeing 2024 for its first passenger flights and plans to expand to various regions soon, including London to Paris and Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The firm is eyeing 2024 for its first passenger flights and plans to expand to various regions soon, including London to Paris and Los Angeles to San Francisco.

To achieve one-way, one-hour flights, Kelekona is developing a swappable battery method that Tesla uses in its Model S and Model 3 cars.

To achieve one-way, one-hour flights, Kelekona is developing a swappable battery method that Tesla uses in its Model S and Model 3 cars.

‘You have to have the kind of mass transport that we rely on in the city. It is prudent to try to carry as many people as possible in one plane, so that we don’t block the airspace.’

With Kelekona’s New York route up and running, the firm plans to add other routes including Boston to New York; New York to Washington, DC; and from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The drone bus, which resembles a mash-up of a flying saucer and blimp, is designed with eight thrust vectoring fans with movable propellers to perform all phases of flight: vertical takeoff, forward flight and landing.

And to achieve one-way, one-hour flights, Kelekona is developing a swappable battery method that Tesla uses in its Model S and Model 3 cars.

Drone just looks like a mash-up of a flying saucer and blimp

Drone just looks like a mash-up of a flying saucer and blimp

The drone bus is designed with eight thrust vectoring fans with movable propellers to perform all phases of flight: vertical takeoff, forward flight and landing

The drone bus is designed with eight thrust vectoring fans with movable propellers to perform all phases of flight: vertical takeoff, forward flight and landing

By using swappable batteries, the drone can cut turnaround time while flying between bus hubs, thus eliminating the need to recharge.

According to the New York startup, the battery pack will also be equipped with a capacity of 3.6 megawatt-hours, enough to power thousands of homes.

Along with taking passengers for pleasure rides, Kelekona also sees its drone bus transporting cargo for military personnel in war zones or assisting as aerial medical evacuation in the event of an emergency.

As well as taking passengers for pleasure rides, Kelekona also sees its drone bus transporting cargo for military personnel in war zones or assisting as aerial medical evacuation in the event of an emergency.

As well as taking passengers for pleasure rides, Kelekona also sees its drone bus transporting cargo for military personnel in war zones or assisting as aerial medical evacuation in the event of an emergency.

Although a route for passenger flights near Kelekona has been chosen and the date is set, it only designed its drone bus in computer simulation.

But Kelekona told Digital Trends that the world should “expect to see our plane in the air next year.”

Uber Technologies sold its air taxi arm to Joby Aviation in December, but the deal hasn’t pulled the plug on Uber’s initial plans to take passengers to the skies by 2023.

Although the terms of the transaction were not released, Uber has agreed to invest $75 million in Joby Aviation.

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