UDOT Tests Vertiports for Drone Delivery and Air Taxis in Utah

The (UDOT) is leading the charge in drone delivery and innovation. With the help of Utah State University, UDOT has successfully launched the state's first air taxi from a “vertiport.”

What Is a Vertiport?

A vertiport is a designated area for aircraft that will carry packages and people in the future. These can be located in various places like parking lots, office building rooftops, airports, or industrial areas.

“The successful launch of a simulated air taxi from a vertiport gives us a sneak peek at our future,” said Paul Damron, UDOT advanced air mobility manager. The goal is to integrate air and ground transportation seamlessly and safely.

Udot Tests Vertiports For Drone Delivery And Air Taxis In Utah

Benefits Highlighted

Supporters argue that this system can reduce travel time significantly.

Borja Martos, CEO of Flight Level Engineering, shared his experience: “It took me 3 hours and 12 minutes to drive from Spanish Fork, Utah, to here today. If I was in one of these vehicles, it could have been 45 minutes. The helicopter took 33 minutes.”

Funding and Development

Governor Spencer Cox allocated $1.9 million in state funding for aerial transportation in his fiscal year 2025 budget, and the legislature approved it.

“Our main objective was to identify locations for air taxis and air package delivery that minimize impacts to homes and businesses while balancing safety and opportunity,” said Dr. Brent Chamberlain, USU associate professor.

Regulatory Sandbox

UDOT is also developing a regulatory sandbox to test these technologies statewide. Matt Maass, UDOT Aeronautics Director, emphasized UDOT's history of delivering complex infrastructure projects ahead of schedule and under budget, saying, “With this demonstration, we are leading yet another innovation that brings us one step closer to creating an aerial transportation system all Utahns can enjoy.”

DroneXL's Take

UDOT's vertiport initiative is a significant step toward a future where drones and air taxis are commonplace. The benefits of reduced travel times and efficient delivery services could transform urban living. This progress in Utah could set a precedent for other states to follow, potentially revolutionizing transportation nationwide.

Photos courtesy of the Utah Deptartment of Transportation

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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