Thorstin Crijns started his Autonomous Human Transport project for one reason: "To create a fully autonomous quadcopter that can transport people without any human intervention," he writes. "In order to be useful for the common public it should fly without requiring a human pilot."
Sure this sounds kooky, but what impressed us is that Crijns—who's not even a mechanical engineer in his native Holland, but a software engineer—actually built the craft he envisioned, the Quadro, and readily straps himself into it to take short test jumps:
Obviously that's him piloting it, but presumably he's just trying to work out the flight kinks. Those of you physics nerds that want to check out his equations can see them here, and Crijns has more test flight footage here.
Under Crijns' vision (can any Dutch speakers tell me if those two words rhyme?) we'd summon a Quadro via a smartphone app, punch in our destination and it would whisk us away. Obviously there are huge infrastructure challenges beyond the initial ones of making the craft itself safe, meaning government intervention would be required for implementation; think landing zones, traffic patterns and such. And even though I'm afraid of heights, when I ask myself if I'd take one of these in Manhattan, the answer is a resounding "Yes." It can't be any more terrifying than your typical yellow cab ride.