Jan 18, 2019 | Updated: 03:16 PM EST

Dubai All Set To Fly Passengers In Self-Flying Drone-Taxi

Feb 17, 2017 03:42 PM EST


Famous for the world's tallest tower "Burj Khalifa", Dubai is soon adding another first to its already long list. This summer Dubai is all set to transport its passengers through the self-flying drones. Dubbed "taxis", these drones will start operating this July.

According to BBC, Dubai's Roads and Transportation Agency announced that the Chinese model eHang 184 as the first self-flying drone that has already been tested for carrying passengers. Dubai Government Mattar Al-Tayer said that the drone is able to carry one passenger having up to 100 kg (220 pounds) of weight and is capable of 30 minutes' flight time. The passenger can easily select his destination on the touch screen. The "taxi" though has no hand controls inside the craft and will be "auto-piloted" by a central command center.

Reportedly, the speed of the self-flying drones is up to 100 miles (160 km) per hour. It can fly an estimated 31 miles (50 km) on a single battery charge.  Mr. Al-Tayer confirmed that they have already test "flied" the vehicle in Dubai's skies. The self-flying drones have also been approved for testing in Nevada in June 2016.

According to Dr. Steve Wright, senior lecturer in avionics and aircraft systems at the University of the West of England, the safety system of the self-flying "taxi" has to be "paramount" to avoid any kind of technical glitches resulting in a fatal outcome. He said that it is easy to fly the device but the safety standard is where the main challenge lies. "I would like to see the drone flying for at least 1000 hours before I saw a human in it", said Dr. Wright.

According to The Telegraph, the propellers of the self-flying drone "taxi" folds inwards as it lands. This feature makes it fit to stay in a single car parking space. As per the drone manufacturer, the self-flying "taxi" has a "fail safe" system, that prompts it to land in the nearest place in case of any malfunctions or disconnections. It can also communicate through encrypted channels.

An Israeli firm Urban Aeronautics had announced about launching a similar drone last month. Named the Cormorant Passenger drone it was reported to be available for military use by 2020. Dubai, which is often called a shopper's paradise, may soon see its shoppers window shopping from the comfort of their self-flying "taxi".

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