The head of Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Agency (RTA), Mattar al-Tayer, announced at the World Government Summit this Monday the city would start deploying “auto-piloted” taxi drones in July.
The drones in question will be Chinese EHang 184 models. These flying vehicles can carry a single passenger and a small suitcase. A command center con the ground monitors the routes and flight status.
Dubai will be the first place in the world to use something close to a flying car as means of transportation. In the race to become the first truly futuristic city, the emirate could also develop the first Hyperloop track in the coming years.
Drones will become a new transportation alternative around Dubai
The RTA gave no technical details when announcing their new drone program for the city of Dubai, but vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles could become a fashionable and efficient way to go from one place to another.
EHang 184 drones seat just one passenger and can carry up to 100 kg (220 pounds) at a time. There is a small compartment in the back to put a small suitcase, bag, or piece of luggage.
Riders need to buckle their seatbelts first for the system to allow them to input a destination. There is a touch display in front of the seat in which they can select where they want to go and prepare for takeoff.
From the ground up, the drone flies thanks to four outer rotors on the edges of the aircraft. It takes to the skies “automatically” with a team monitoring its every move from the ground. There is no steering wheel or command center on board.
Dubai’s EHang 184s can fly at altitudes as high as the Burj Al-Arab, more than 200 meters or close to 700 feet off the ground. The electric vehicle can make 30-minute trips at most, and it has a range of up to 50 km or 31 miles.
The UAE is considering Hyperloop routes
While taxi drones have been thoroughly tested in the Emirati city and will continue to do so until deployment later this summer, the nation is already considering an even bolder transportation method.
Last October, Hyperloop One and the city of Dubai signed an agreement to research a potential route between it and Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
The distance between the two places is roughly 150 km or just over 90 miles. Hyperloop speeds could top at 1,220 km/h or 760 mph, making the trip from one city to the other a matter of minutes.
Source: Popular Mechanics