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Drones

In the future we'll all fly personal drones like this

At least until they perfect jetpacks or teleportation.

Regular flying drones might be annoying, unsafe invaders of privacy, but what about a drone you can climb into and fly to the grocery store?

The appropriately named PassengerDrone company, based in Switzerland, promises just that with its new two-seater manned aircraft. It flies without its passengers having to do anything beyond interact with a touchscreen. From the press release:

Slightly larger than a small car, the industry-leading PassengerDrone has the potential to change the traditional means of commuter transportation. Utilizing its easy-to-use touchscreen, passengers simply select their destination, sit back and relax, as the drone takes over, eliminating stressful commutes with the ability to travel up to 80 kph (50 mph).

And if you know your pitch from your yaw, there's a manual mode too. 

The drone uses 16 electric engines and is capable of vertical takeoff and landing. Another fun fact: Its internals are entirely fiber optics, without a single wire inside. Because future.

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Passenger Drone

Living in the flying future won't be cheap, however. PassengerDrone says the craft is expected to cost between $150,000 and $200,000. 

Manned test flights took place in August, but a company spokesperson I contacted wouldn't speculate on when it would come to market. Since the technology is mature, certification in various countries is the biggest obstacle. "We hope by end of 2018 to have it approved in USA, Europe and few other major markets," he said.

PassengerDrone will have some competition: The EHang 184 drone taxi just began testing in Dubai and has been cleared for US trials; researchers at MIT are working on wheeled drones as "flying cars"; and companies like Kitty Hawk (a project of Google's Larry Page) and Daimler are also investing in the technology. 

Update, 3.24 p.m. ET: Added comments and additional information from PassengerDrone.