Canadian News Aug 9, 2021 5:27 PM EST

Canada Transport spends $61,168 on flying taxi study

Most said it was not a good idea. The research cost $61,168.

Canada Transport spends $61,168 on flying taxi study
Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary, AB

Canada's transport department surveyed Canadians on whether they’d take a flying taxi. Most said it was not a good idea. The research cost $61,168, according to Blacklocks.

"Most participants are not quite comfortable with flying taxi cabs," wrote researchers. "Some feel the sounds would disturb them. Others feel flying taxicabs 'sound like an accident waiting to happen.'"

"On the other hand, one participant pointed out that if they helped reduce pollution, it might make her feel a little better about it," said a report. "Another participant mentioned flying taxicabs 'sound cool and all, but there has to be a 99.9 percent chance it can’t crash!'"

Flying cab questionnaires were included in a Public Opinion Research Study On Drone Users' Familiarity With The New Rules And The General Public’s Social Acceptance Of Drones. Findings were based on questionnaires with 2,703 people nationwide and four online focus groups.

Asked, "Some people feel in the future drones will become more commonplace and put to different uses. Please tell me if you would be comfortable with drones being used to transport people like a taxi." Only 37 percent said it sounded like a good idea.

The department commissioned the study following 2019 amendments to Canadian Aviation Regulations that require all operators to register their machines, complete a $15 Basic Operations exam, obtain a federal permit and keep flight records. "We want to support the development of a modern and agile regulatory framework for emerging technologies, including connected and automated vehicles and drones," then-Transport Minister Marc Garneau testified at the 2018 hearings of the Commons transport committee.

Most drone users, 55 percent, said they were unaware of the regulations. Only two in ten had a Drone Pilot Certificate. "A clear majority of respondents, 81 percent, do not have any background in aviation," said Study On Drone Users.

Drone pilots said they typically used their devices for photography. "Most drone users fly their drone anywhere they think would be interesting for an aerial shot," wrote researchers. Seventeen percent said they flew drones for crop and land surveys or building inspections. "Some admitted not having done exhaustive research on drone laws," said the report.

Operators are forbidden from flying within five metres of people, more than 120 metres above the ground, or within six kilometres of an airport under threat of a $1,000 fine.

The transport department counted some 193,500 drones in Canada. The fleet is projected to grow to 225,500 within six years and as many as 406,000 by 2029. "By comparison, it is estimated there are 37,000 aircraft in traditional aviation, including commercial passenger and cargo aircraft and general aviation aircraft," staff wrote in an earlier regulatory notice.

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