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Dubai’s flying taxis gets seal of approval from Sheikh Hamdan



The concept of flying taxis has just been given a shiny seal of approval from Dubai royalty.

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, was among the first to see how the region’s proposed autonomous air taxi, which will also be the world’s first self-flying taxi service, will operate.

During the viewing held at Jumeriah Beach Park yesterday (September 25), the 34-year-old royal said: “After the remarkable success of the first driverless metro in the region, we are glad to witness today the test flight of the Autonomous Air Taxi.”

He added: “This is another testament to our commitment to driving positive change. We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society.”

The vehicles that are set to take to our skies in the near future have been supplied by German specialists company, Volocopter.

The fully autonomous, two seater vehicles will be powered by clean electricity and unlike helicopters will have low noise levels. In its current prototype version, it can reach a maximum flight time of approximately 30 minutes at a cruise speed of 50kmph, and a maximum air speed of 100kmph.

According to Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA), the ATT service will be available to the public through a smart mobility app, which will allow customers to book flights, receive booking details and track the route of the AAT.

Speaking on the initiative, the director-general and chairman of the RTA, His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer said:  “The Autonomous Air Taxi has a variety of unique features that include top security and safety standards, and multiple redundancies in all critical components such as propellers, motors, power source, electronics and flight controls.”

He added: “It is also fitted with optional emergency parachutes, nine independent battery systems, and a battery quick-charge and plug-in system, which takes two hours to reach full charge in the prototype version, a time that will be significantly reduced in the production version.”

Al Tayer also stated that, over the next five years, the RTA said it will collaborate with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that the operational requirements for implementing AAT services are put in place.

These requirements include developing laws and policies governing certification of the aircraft and AAT operations as well as defining aerial routes and corridors and designing and locating take-off and landing points.

He also revealed that the RTA has appointed US-based JDA Aviation Company, an autonomous air-vehicle safety specialist, to oversee preparations for AAT flights and manage safety.

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