Photo Credit: Mark Nomdar
Air Taxi, part of Israel’s National Air Drone Initiative.

Israel’s National Air Drone Initiative (INDI) has taken a significant step forward with another week of flight tests and demonstrations simultaneously taking place at various locations throughout Israel.

The initiative has been operating since 2019, with more than NIS 60 million ($16 million) to be invested in the next two years, when test flights will be conducted on a large number of aircraft able to transport people and goods. The initiative is focused on preparing the airspace for drone flights, to alleviate traffic congestion on Israel’s roads, providing commercial and public services more efficiently, and creating a global competitive advantage for Israeli high-tech companies.

Air Taxi, part of Israel’s National Air Drone Initiative. / Mark Nomdar

As part of the tests and experimental flights conducted throughout Israel last week, 11 drone companies operated in the public airspace, conducting complex experiments to promote operational capabilities.

Highlights included:

  • For the first time, test flights of eVTOL autonomous electric aircraft with long-range capabilities were conducted in a managed urban airspace (also known as UTM – Unmanned Traffic Management), carrying heavy cargo loads, with a future option to fly people for long distances.
  • AIR flew the AIR ZERO, manufactured in Israel, which can accommodate up to 2 passengers and a total payload of up to 220 kilograms, for a distance of up to 160 kilometers.
  • Dronery, a subsidiary of Cando Drones, took off for the first time at the Pal-Yam landing pad in Caesarea with EHANG’s innovative EH216-S aircraft, which can carry two passengers, a total of up to 220 kilograms, and fly a distance within 30 kilometers, in a fully autonomous flight with no pilot onboard, using EHANG’s intelligent command-and-control system.
  • Cando Drones conducted delivery flights between Rami Levy Supermarket branches, night flights in the coastal strip of Hadera in collaboration with the municipality, and traffic monitoring activities at the Nesher-Bar-Yehuda junction.
  • Down Wind conducted the longest flight in the initiative so far, covering approximately 29 kilometers, to open a flight path between Hillel Yaffe Medical Center and Rambam Medical Center.
  • Autonomous urban flights were performed to assess the movement of goods from various branches of the Yohananof supermarket.
  • Sentrycs conducted a test to ensure a safe flight environment for authorized drones in collaboration with Flytech and Cando.
  • ATI, in collaboration with TA Helicopters, examined eVTOL landing options in city centers and conducted a flight path from Kfar Truman to the center of Tel Aviv, with a landing in Reading.
  • These flights and tests contribute to advancing the development and implementation of innovative drone technologies in Israel. Several companies are participating in the drone initiative that began in 2019. These include Airways Drones Ltd, F.T. Aerial Solutions Ltd, Elsight, AGL, Air Taxi Israel (ATI), Down Wind, BROOK, Highlander Aviation, Cando Drones, and RoboTiCan.
Air Taxi, part of Israel’s National Air Drone Initiative. / Mark Nomdar

The initiative is a partnership between government entities led by the Ministry of Transportation, the Israel Innovation Authority, Ayalon Highways Ltd., and the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI). The goal is to support and promote an ecosystem through technology, regulation, and infrastructure for the use of advanced flight vehicles.

Air Taxis and drones, part of Israel’s National Air Drone Initiative. / Mark Nomdar

Transport Minister Miri Regev (Likud) said: “The collaborative project examines all the aspects––including regulation and legislative changes––involved in the commercial operation of drones, as an additional tool to deal with congestion. This is a new, intriguing, and challenging world with unlimited possibilities for us. We will do everything to ensure that Israel continues to lead and be at the forefront of global research and development on land, air, and sea.”


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