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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, August 20, 2018


Is that a bird? Is that a plane? No, its a taxi, and there shall be more in Dubai skies soon

Flying Taxi

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DUBAI, U.A.E. - Dubai’s transport authorities have confirmed that they have tested a Chinese prototype of a self-driving hover-taxi.

The aerial vehicle, authorities said would be introduced in a bid to reduce traffic in the country by July this year.

The test of the one-man electric vehicle comes as Dubai braces to meet its goal of ensuring that a quarter of its means of transport are self-driven, by 2030.

The Chinese prototype that has been tested is the EHang 184, made by the Chinese drone manufacturer EHang. It can travel on a programmed course at 100 kilometres an hour (60 mph) and at an altitude of 300 metres (1,000 feet).

Interestingly, a passenger needs only to select a destination, followed by which, the autonomous taxi would take off on its own, fly the route and touch down in the chosen spot - monitored by a ground control centre.

The quadcopter is powered by eight propellers, has highly accurate sensors and can resist extreme temperatures. 

The last feature standing out the most due to the emirate’s scorching weather.

Further, the vehicle can recharge itself in two hours and can make trips of up to 30 minutes.

The head of the Dubai transport authority, Mattar al-Tayer, said in a statement, "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.”

According to the head, the transport authority was "making every effort to start the operation of the autonomous aerial vehicle in July 2017" in a bid to reduce traffic in the city-state.

In November last year, Dubai had agreed on a deal with U.S. startup Hyperloop One to study the construction of a near-supersonic transport link to the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi.

Dubai, home to Burj Khalifa which is the world's tallest tower, is a leading tourist destination in the Gulf. 

It attracted a record 14.9 million visitors in 2016.

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