Dubai to commence unmanned aerial taxi service

The drones can handle a flier and a small bag weighing up to a combined total of 220 pounds.

The Ehang 184 drone is poised to start transporting passengers this summer in Dubai.

The notion of a flying auto may sound farfetched but it seems that one may soon see drones ferrying passenger over the Dubai skyline. The one-person drones could be ferrying commuters between predetermined checkpoints by July; the agency showed off the vehicle at an event, according to an APreport.

Up, up and away: Dubai hopes to have a passenger-carrying drone regularly buzzing through the skyline of this futuristic city-state in July.


Mattar al-Tayer, the head of Dubai's Roads & Transportation Agency, made the announcement on Monday at the World Government Summit. "We have already experimented (with) the vehicle in a flight in (the) Dubai sky".

Al Tayer revealed that the city plans to use an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) produced by Chinese drone specialist Ehang. It has a seat that appears to be out of a race vehicle and destinations are chosen from the touchpad screen of the craft. As far as drones go, it's actually much less drone and more automated helicopter, using onboard navigation systems to carry passengers to their desired location without the need for a pilot.

It has reported speeds of up to 100 miles per hour (160 kilometres per hour) and can fly 31 miles (50km) on a single battery charge. Using a touch screen to select a preset destination, passengers will be able to travel for up to 30 minutes at a speed of around 60mph. This would enable the EHang 184 to get a clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S.

Plans to launch the service in Dubai are part of a wider vision to transform the city into a global centre for driverless mobility.

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