Authorities have announced that a successful ‘concept flight’ of an autonomous hover-taxi service had taken place
Details are still few about the route taken, although there were no passengers were taken along for the ride.
The prototype electric hover-vehicle was designed by Germany’s Volocopter. The vehicle can soar across the Dubai skyline for 30 minutes, with a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph).
Should things go wrong, the vehicle is able to deploy its emergency parachutes, or switch over to its nine independent battery systems, in order to make a safe landing.
Dubai’s transport authorities expect that air-taxis will become a fundamental cornerstone of the city’s public transport; much like busses, subways, and ordinary taxis.
Passengers in the air taxis will be able to book air-taxis through an app, and track its journey and arrival, much like Uber.
However – don’t expect it soon; Dubai’s transport chiefs say it’ll take five years for it to become a regular thing, as they figure out the safety and legal aspects of the service.
But Uber is currently working on an on-demand air taxi product, and has set an ambitious goal of launching a passenger service in Dallas and Dubai by 2020.
It makes perfect sense that Dubai would be a focus city for this technology. Doesn’t it?
The emirate boasts a large community of fabulously wealthy individuals, who are also happy not only to pay for convenience, but also for a ‘prestige’ service.
Given that air taxis will likely cost a huge premium when they launch, they fit that description pretty well.
Traffic jams are also an issue in Dubai – regardless of what you drive. But an Uber-like flying taxi service will be able to offer a way out for that, allowing those with the means to get around the city more easily.