Dubai plans to roll out pilot-less flying taxis this summer

Chinese passenger drones Ehang 184  are coming to Dubai in July 2017

Dubai has tested a Chinese prototype of a self-driving hover-taxi, its transport authority said on Monday, with the aim of introducing the aerial vehicle in the emirate by July.

Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the city’s Road and Transport Authority said that he hopes Dubai will have autonomous taxi drones zipping around its skyline this summer.

The flying car was exhibited at the World Government Summit in Dubai this week and the chief of the RTA said a summer start date for flights is envisioned.

“The AAV exhibited at the summit is not just a model; it is a real version that we have already experimented the vehicle in a flight in Dubai sky. The RTA is making every effort to start the operation of the AAV in July 2017,” said Mattar Al Tayer.

The craft will help Dubai achieve its goals of one in four journeys to be taken by driverless, autonomous transport by 2030.

Made by the dronemaker Beijing Yi-Hang Creation Science and Technology Corporation, the Ehang 184 is a “passenger drone” that can carry a single person (and luggage) of up to 220 pounds.

With a four-rotor layout in the form of a giant quadcopter, it has enough battery power to fly a range of just over 30 miles, at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. The Ehang 184 is also highly autonomous; while its flight computer is linked to a command center (with some human oversight), the flight computer is capable of making emergency landings, self diagnosing issues, and avoiding obstacles.

The EHang is electric-powered and it will be generated by eight propellers. It can go at speeds of up to 63 miles an hour and takes two hours to charge fully.

The EHang 184 can travel on a programmed course at 100 kilometres an hour (60 mph) at an altitude of 300 metres (1,000 feet), the authority said in a statement. The new version has an endurance of about 30 minute flying time. This is about 30 mile range. The drones can handle a flier and a small bag weighing up to a combined total of 220 pounds

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

Tribune International