Dubai Air Taxi preparing for take off

Posted on Aug 7, 2017 by

’s pledge to make a quarter of all mass transit journeys in the emirate of the autonomous variety by 2020 moves along with new task force set up to reach regulatory conclusions on pilotless air travel 

dubai air taxi

The Ehang 184 can fly at up to 3,000m above sea level at a cruising speed of 100km/h

When the Jetsons promised flying cars we didn’t realise we’d be waiting half a century, but Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) might reward our patience soon.

Last month tests were already conducted of flying pilotless vehicles around the Burj Al Arab, in anticipation of the RTA’s announcement pledging operational autonomous air taxis by the end of the year.

As part of Dubai’s Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy aiming to make a quarter of all public transport journeys autonomous in the city by 2020, the Dubai Air Taxi would fly a single passenger at a time between predetermined locations without any occupant interaction.

The emirate has chosen the Chinese-made Ehang 184 autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) model to roll out the Dubai Air Taxi – the zero-emissions, all-electric vehicles is designed will fail-safe flying options and an emergency parachute.

Director General of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Saif Mohammad Al Suwaidi pledged the will not only be the first country to offer autonomous flying taxis, but also promised to ensure the service is the safest.

Flying in a U-shape flight path, the Ehang 184 uses cameras to locate landing spots from pre-set locations. It can carry a 120kg payload (the craft itself weighs 240kg) and cruises at low altitude at up to 25min, with its batteries providing over more than 190 horsepower for a cruising speed of 100km/h. Made of aircraft grade aluminum and carbon fibre, the Ehang 184 uses eight rotors to beat gravity.

Experts agree currently AAV technology is progressing at a faster pace than governments can regulate the concept of pilotless flying, particularly AAVs in the public transport sector.

Director General of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Saif Mohammad Al Suwaidi pledged the UAE will not only be the first country to offer autonomous flying taxis, but also promised to ensure the service is the safest.

In order for the RTA to achieve its vision of autonomous flying taxis by the end of the year, the GCCA has formed a task force to lead the regulatory process and review and research all support systems such as emergency services and operators efficacy before the service is rolled out.

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