Hamdan bin Mohammed witnesses the first test flight

27 September 2017, 12:14 | Kristine Mills

Driverless hover-taxi makes first ´concept´ flight in Dubai

Driverless hover-taxi makes first ´concept´ flight in Dubai

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

The vehicle, which can carry two passengers, has been developed by the German firm Volocopter and is powered by 18 rotor blades.

Dubai has positioned itself to become the smartest city in the world with ambitions to have self-driving vehicles account for a quarter of journeys made by 2030.

The maiden run for the helicopter taxi took place at Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed stadium. "We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society", he added.

Dubai staged the first public test of its drone taxi service Monday, offering a peek at what it might-or will-be like to commute by flying auto. "From a DCAA perspective, this proof-of-concept flight makes history and we are proud to be a support entity", said Michael Rudolph, Head of Aviation Regulations and Safety, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority. "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".

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The drones include "luxurious interiors and leather seating" for passengers, is powered by clean energy and produces low noise levels.

The current version of the Volocopter two seats able to stay in the air for about 30 minutes when the flight speed is 50 kilometers per hour, also stated the possibility of dispersal to 100 kilometers per hour.

Over the next five years, the RTA will collaborate with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to develop laws and policies governing the service, a category that includes defining aerial routes and corridors, locating take-off and landing points and setting standards for operators of the service. All these features will evolve in the production vehicles.

German firm Volocopter, however, is not the only one experimenting with new modes of air public transport and already has its horns locked with several European and United States firms that are innovating on creating the next go-to mode of futuristic public transport, whether that be a driverless auto or a vertical take-off and landing aircraft.



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