Dubai tests unmanned aerial taxi service

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The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), based in the UAE, has revealed that it has completed testing of an unmanned aerial taxi, with plans to officially launch the service to the public in July. Working in collaboration with Chinese drone manufacturer EHang Company, using an unmanned autonomous vehicle (AAV) capable of carrying one person at a time, the RTA said that the service would follow a series of preset routes, which the user would select upon boarding via a touchscreen. A ground control center would also be in service to monitor the vehicles.

Each EHang184 drone model can travel at speeds of almost 100mph, at altitudes of 300m. It would automatically start and stop, taking off from and landing at predetermined locations. The vehicles can fly for a maximum of 30 minutes.

The initiative, announced at the World Government Summit in Dubai, is in line with the city’s strategy to have driverless trips account for 25% of the total individual movements within the city by 2030. The routes the service would cater to are yet to be revealed.

Matter Al-Tayer, RTA director general and chairman, sought to reassure the public that such transport would be perfectly safe, saying that it had “addressed the highest levels of security in the designing and manufacturing of the EHang184.”

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