While the rest of the world is focussed on autonomous vehicle technology that can get people from A to B using traditional, solid ground, Dubai are expected to begin trials of driverless flying cars that will ferry the elite around the city.
Coming as early as this summer, the autonomous flying cars created by Chinese company Ehang can seat just one person and you set your destination using a touchscreen. Looking like a giant drone, the quad-copter will travel to your chosen location at speeds up to 99mph (although this is likely to be limited to 62mph for passenger comfort).
The Ehang passenger drone is the focus of the trial with the ability to travel up to 3,000 feet in the air it has a 30 minute battery life allowing you to theoretically travel anywhere in the city. The fact that the vehicles are battery powered also means that there isn’t any pollution.
The director of Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority said: “The Automated Aerial Vehicle exhibited at the summit is not just a model; it is a real version that we have already experimented on a flight in Dubai sky.”
“The RTA is making every effort to start the operation of the AAV in July 2017.”
MATTAR AL TAYAR – DIRECT, DUBAI RTA
The entire process from picking up passengers, and ensuring they get to their destination safely, will be monitored by a ground-based control station in Dubai. It’s unclear just how many vehicles they want in the air at any one time, but if the trial goes as planned, it wouldn’t be a surprise if there were drone taxis zooming hundreds of tourists around the city next year.