According to the head of Dubai's Roads and Transportation Agency, passengers could be able to use self-flying drone taxis from as early as July this year.
One-Person Drone Taxi Already Tested Over Dubai.
The Ehang 184, electric-powered, pilotless ‘taxi’ drone is reported to have already been tested over the skies of Dubai. The four-propellered, pod-shaped vehicle is able to transport one passenger and their bag (weighing not more than 100 kilograms / 220 pounds in total) on a journey of up to 23 minutes duration on a single charge. Charging the drone's battery up between journeys reportedly takes up to 2 hours.
Since the drone taxi can travel at 100 mph / 160km/hr top speed, this means that it can travel 31 miles in one trip, which should be more than enough for a taxi journey into and out of the United Arab Emirates’ most luxurious city.
Back in June last year, the state of Nevada in the US cleared the very same model of drone for testing of passenger-carrying.
Call Using an App.
People will be able to call and use a drone taxi by entering their location and destination into an app on their phone. The drone is then able to map the route, which will actually take it in hops from one set landing point to another rather than simply in a straight line.
The benefits are, of course, huge time savings for passengers in being able to avoid traffic jams, and labour cost savings for air-taxi operating companies. If the drone taxis prove popular, it could also lead to less congestion on Dubai’s roads and less pollution. The taxis may also be yet another draw and attraction for tourists to a city that is now a very popular destination.
Back in November, Dubai struck a deal with a US start-up to look into the construction of a vacuum-sealed, pod transportation system called Hyperloop. It is estimated that this transportation method could slash travel times between Dubai and Abu Dhabi (150 kilometres / 90 miles apart) to around 12 minutes! The dream is that Dubai could have a truly futuristic transport system in place that combines autonomous road taxis, drone taxis, and Hyperloop trains.
What Does This Mean For Your Businesses?
For businesses such as Amazon, Uber, and those in similar industries, Dubai’s adoption and use of autonomous vehicle and drone technology in a built-up environment could provide a real-life testing ground, which could present a strong argument and a demand-stimulator for the use of those technologies in many other countries and cities. For those travelling to Dubai on business, drone taxis and Hyperloop trains could save time and increase comfort in reaching important meetings.