Dubai gets ready for autonomous taxi drones
In a bid to become the first city in the world to feature autonomous urban mobility, Dubai is pulling out all the stops to have autonomous taxi drones flying around no later than this summer. That is what Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority, said during the World Government Summit in his home town last week.
The flying one-person pods can carry up to 100 kilograms and are manufactured by Chinese drone-builder EHang. A drone piloting license is not necessary – the passenger just presses a few buttons, after which the drone takes off vertically, flies from A to B and lands.
The EHang 184 drone, which is called Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV) by its makers, should have a range of 30 kilometres and fly at speeds of up to 100 km/h. Critics have serious doubts about the product-readiness, questioning whether EHang can walk the talk they have been spreading since the presentation of their product during CES 2016.
The project is part of a wider mobility plan announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in April 2016. Dubai’s ruler wants 25 per cent of all passenger journeys in Dubai to be carried out in autonomous vehicles by 2030.
Picture copyright: EHang, 2017
| 20/03/2017 | Dieter Quartier