Andrea Ponti (born in Cagliari, Italy) is an Italian designer specialising in product and industrial design. His projects combine Italian style design with the minimalism of Japanese design. After seven years in Japan, Ponti now lives in Hong Kong where he founded Ponti Design Studio in 2013.
Ponti has now released images of his unmanned flying taxi concept, KITE, which he says is designed to connect cities in the post-COVID era.
The pandemic restrictions have heavily hit air travel and tourism, especially in Asia. A key player in restarting the economy and tourism in Asia is the Greater Bay Area, a large industrial region in Southern China, which includes nine cities and the two special-administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
KITE is a passenger drone designed to connect the cities of the Greater Bay Area in the post-COVID era, says Ponti. The flying pod is fully electric, zero-emission, and unmanned. Ponti has said that the name KITE was inspired by the black kite, a majestic migratory bird that can be found in Hong Kong during the winter.
Ponti believes KITE’s rounded and compact fuselage minimises drag and optimises maneuverability during flight.
The pod sports an interior layout similar to a private jet, with a central aisle and one line of seats on either side. The cabin can be accessed through a single rear door, while the glass side panels work as emergency exits.
KITE is propelled by four double-helix rotors attached to the composite fuselage which features LED headlights for landing and low-altitude flying, and retractable landing skids.
On the ground, it docks onto a platform for embarking/disembarking and recharging in between flights. The cabin offers four single seats with 4-point quick-release harnesses, one front screen and two rear screens that display take-off, flight and landing information.
In this transition phase when air travel has decreased significantly, Ponti believes KITE offers a new option for inter-city transit within the Greater Bay Area.