RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) officials have announced that they have successfully tested a self-driving hover-taxi - and plan to introduce the aerial vehicle to Dubai in July this year. The announcement was made at the World Government Summit in Dubai.
It was disclosed at the World Government Summit that the Chinese manufactured vehicle as part of the UAE’s vision to ensure that by 2030 a quarter of its means of transport is courtesy of self-driving vehicles. However, plans to introduce a self-driving aerial vehicle is a bold and innovative move, as the UAE continue to foster ideas to reduce mobility issues in its cities.
The self-driving hover-taxi is a one-man electrical vehicle and has been developed by Chinese manufacturer E-Hang’ which can travel on a programmed course at 100km/h at an altitude of 300 meters (1,000ft) in a statement released by the RTA at the summit.
All a passenger needs to do in order to get from A-B is select a destination for the autonomous aerial taxi to take off from there, the vehicle will fly the route before being landed in the chosen spot that will be monitored by a ground control center. The autonomous aerial taxi can recharge in just two hours and can undergo journeys for up to 30 minutes.
Head of the RTA, Mattar Al-Tayer said that the product which was exhibited at the World Government Summit was not a model, and that it will make every effort possible to ensure they can introduce the service in July.
He said: "The autonomous aerial vehicle exhibited at the World Government Summit is not just a model. We have already experimented with the vehicle in a flight in the Dubai sky. We’re making every effort as an authority to start the operation of the autonomous aerial vehicle in July 2017 to help reduce traffic congestion."
The quadcopter is powered by eight propellers and contains highly accurate sensors and can resist extreme temperatures -which is an important factor due to the searing heat of the summers in Dubai.
This latest development comes just months after Dubai agreed a deal to partner with a US start-up organization called Hyperloop One to construct a supersonic transport system which would link the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi. Dubai is a massive global tourist attraction both in the Gulf and globally, home to the world’s largest tower the Burj Khalifa, and it attracted a record 14.9 million visitors in 2016.
But will these tourists and residents alike beat the traffic congestion in Dubai by utilizing the self-driving hover-taxi?