Egg-shaped taxi drone to ferry passengers around Dubai by JULY

John Locher  AP
The EHang 184 autonomous aerial vehicle

In the latest example of the city's early-adoption mindset, the local transport authority has revealed that it has been testing Ehang's personal taxi drone, with plans to launch real operations this July.

"This is not only a model, we have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai's skies", said Mattar al-Tayer, head of Dubai's transportation agency. Passengers won't have to do anything but pick a destination. If something bad does happen, such as a set of electric motors going offline, the vehicle can still operate a normal flight plan. When the destination is touched, the drone will automatically fly to the location. In theory, each of these giant drones is capable of transporting a passenger up to 100 kg from one place in the city to another at a speed of 100 km/h in complete autonomy. Since its cargo is a lot more valuable than a camera, too, there's unsurprisingly more safety technology onboard. It is equipped with eight propellers, with one propeller operating at a time. Redundant processors and sensors can kick in should the primary systems encounter a problem, and the AAV is created to automatically locate the nearest safe landing spot and touch down should that happen.

STRINGER via Getty Images
STRINGER via Getty Images

According to Associated Press, the Chinese-made EHang 184 has a top speed of 160 kph (100 mph), but authorities say it will be operated typically at 100 kph (62 mph).

The ruler of the country, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said last April that by 2030, he wanted to see 25 percent of all trips taken in Dubai to be made by driverless cars. Its highly accurate sensors are created to withstand extreme temperatures, as the UAE is prone to extreme temperatures during summers.




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