Dubai to trial flying taxi this year
There’s no need to look at your calendar, we are still in 2017… you haven’t stepped into a DeLorean and arrived in the future. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has also signed an agreement with VOLOCOPTER – a German company who specialize in Autonomous Air Vehicles – to launch the first vehicle capable of carrying two passengers. Theses helicopter-like taxis will begin trials at the end of this year.
This is part of Dubai’s Autonomous Mobility Strategy, which aims to make a quarter of journeys in the city driverless by 2030. The "taxis" will have a maximum speed of 100kmph and a maximum flight time of 30 minutes.
“The AAT is powered by electricity and has high safety features, thanks to its design comprising 18 rotors to ensure safe cruising and landing of the taxi in case of any rotor failure,” said HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA. “The air taxi is characterized by its autopilot or autonomous flying, thus enabling the movement of people from place to another without human intervention or a need for flight license holder.”
According to Al Tayer, VOLOCOPTER was chosen due to the company’s compliance with safety and security standards. They have already passed the German Aviation Authority’s testing.
Once the RTA begins testing at the end of the year, an experimental phase will follow before the relevant legislation is passed.
“It is noteworthy that the operational and legislative structures will be the first of their kind worldwide. In coordination with its strategic partners and in the Emirate, RTA will specify the air routes of journeys, take-off and landing points of these taxis as well as the logistics needed to ensure safe and smooth mobility of passengers. RTA will forge additional partnerships with other manufacturers of autonomous air vehicles after ensuring their fulfilment of the specifications and standards of air safety approved in Dubai,” Al Tayer added.