Dubai to trial flying taxis in Q4 2017
Dubai's Roads & Transport Authority has signed an agreement with Volocopter to test autonomous air taxis
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced that Dubai will start to trial autonomous air taxis (AAT) in the fourth quarter of this year.
The RTA has signed an agreement with Volocopter, a specialist manufacturer of autonomous air vehicles based in Germany.
In February, the RTA revealed plans to make airborne passenger drones available to the public by July this year with Chinese firm EHANG. However the authority has now said this service will only be available once all safety and security requirements have been approved.
The two-seater AAT is capable of 30 minutes continuous flying time at a speed of 50kph but it can reach a maximum of 100kph. It is fitted with nine independent battery systems which has a quick charging time of 40 minutes, along with flight controls and 18 rotors for safe cruising.
Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the board of the RTA, said: "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.
"The air taxi is characterised by its autopilot or autonomous flying, thus enabling the movement of people from one place to another without human intervention or a need for flight license holder."
The RTA and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority are working together to develop the legislative and operational guidelines, define specifications and standards applicable to operators in the emirate.
The trial is part of Dubai's smart autonomous mobility strategy where it aims to transform 25% of the total mobility journeys into autonomous journeys by 2030.