Dubai is planning to make autonomous taxi drones available in its skies by July 2017. This after Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced in April 2016 that he wants 25% of all passenger journeys in Dubai to be in autonomous vehicles by the year 2030.
Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the city's Road and Transport Authority hopes that they will be able to put this into effect by summer. He said they plan to launch actual drones that people can sit inside and fly without them fearing for their lives, reports Forbes.
The drones planned to be used are made by Chinese drone making firm EHang. The EHANG 184 drone can carry a person weighing 220 lbs (100kg) together with a small suitcase. EHang's co-founder Derrick Xiong said passengers do not need to know how to operate the drones. According to him, they just have to press a button, then it vertically takes off, and flies from point A to point B, then lands.
The drone can fly about 50 kilometers (31 miles) on a single charge, reaching top speeds of up to 160 kph (100 mph). It would be piloted and monitored from a "remote command center." The service could offer flights within an area of 50 kilometers, with a typical cruising speed of around 62 mph (100km/h).
According to Mashable, EHang isn't the only firm in the "flying car" game, but it looks to be the most active in this venture. Airbus is also looking to have a passenger drone in the air by the end of the year; but that isn't even projected to be ready for a manned demo like that of EHang's until at least 2020. Uber has revealed a concept and has hired a former NASA engineer to spearhead its efforts, while Google co-founder Larry Page is said to be tinkering with some secret, super design through his startup Zee.Aero.
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