conceived by italian designer andrea ponti, ‘KITE’ is a fully-electric, autonomous drone concept to connect china’s greater bay area. developed in response to the restrictions on air travel and tourism experienced in 2020, the passenger drone imagines an alternative mode of transport for life after COVID-19.
KITE passing by victoria peak at sunrise
images courtesy of andrea ponti
the greater bay area is a large industrial region in southern china, which includes nine cities and the two special-administrative regions of hong kong and macau. featuring cutting-edge technology and a sophisticated, minimalist design, KITE aims to reflect the spirit of hong kong and its region. its name was inspired by the black kite — a majestic migratory bird that can be found in hong kong during the winter. with a 150cm wing span, it is an extremely fast, agile and intelligent bird of prey.
KITE flying over lantau island, macau to hong kong
KITE’s rounded and compact fuselage minimizes drag and optimizes maneuverability during flight. its interior layout recalls a private jet, with a central aisle and single seats along the sides. the cabin can be accessed through a single rear door while the glass side panels function as emergency exits.
KITE returning to the landing platform on hong kong island
KITE is propelled by four double-helix rotors attached to the composite material fuselage, which features LED headlights for landing and low-altitude flying and retractable skids for landing. on the ground, it docks onto a platform for embarking/disembarking and for recharging the drone in between flights.
KITE approaching hong kong, interior view from the rear seats
the cabin offers four single seats with 4-point quick-release harnesses, one front screen and two rear screens that display takeoff, flight and landing information. the seats can recline and they feature a polycarbonate shell with soft fabric lining and leather cushions. asymmetric seat stands create under-seat storage space for carry-ons, whereas the area behind the back seats offers storage for larger items. buttons and retractable trays are integrated in the armrests for maximum in-flight comfort.
interior view of the cabin and seat layout
with KITE’s sophisticated design, composite materials and advanced technology, andrea ponti hopes to offer a sustainable and attractive alternative to more traditional forms of transportation. KITE also embodies the innovative drive of this up-and-coming region and it aims to promote the advancement of scientific and technological research, not only in hong kong and the greater bay area, but in all of asia.