DDN: Are ‘Air Ubers’ the future? Wright State researchers working to make them a reality


From left: Yong Pei, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and student researchers Miteshkumar Vasoya, Chris Rave, Logan Frank and Ashutosh Shivakumar. (Photo by Erin Pence)


Researchers at Wright State University are trying to develop what they call an “Air Uber.”

The researchers are part of a group awarded a $2 million grant from the Ohio Federal Research Network to support research and development in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles. Wright State’s researchers, led by by associate professor Yong Pei, were awarded $150,000 for their part of the project, according to the university.

“We want to move the UAV from a small-payload platform to make it a more meaningful, higher payload,” Pei said in a statement. “So we’re starting from an existing commercially available aircraft and trying to add new capabilities that will eventually enable it to be autonomous.”

The goal of the project is to help develop pilotless drones that can ferry medical supplies or emergency first responders to disaster areas. Researchers believe the drones could be used for disaster relief and surveillance, according to WSU.

Large unmanned drones that can carry passengers are thought to be the future of the drone industry. The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is testing an unmanned, self-flying taxi, according to Wright State.

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