Dubai to launch flying taxis
Such is the rapid rate of technology that driverless cars now seem to be old news. They’ve been talked about since news leaked that Google had started working on the technology back in 2009. Now while the world is still intrigued, people have begun looking for the next new bit of headline-grabbing technology. Luckily for us, that headline comes from Dubai yet again.
The debate around autonomous cars continues to rumble on, with the main bone of contention being road safety. The legal minefield that is autonomous cars can be a real headache when it comes to liability, which is primarily why “Koala” cars (complete with no driving wheel) aren’t seen with much enthusiasm by the legal community. Last year’s crash of a Tesla vehicle on autopilot has been a stark reminder of the inevitable consequences.
In the UAE, on the other hand, the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) may have found a solution: the Ehang 184.
The Chinese single passenger flying drone (straight out of Blade Runner) takes to the sky to skip all the hazards of the road. The one-seater pilot-free helicopter (3.90 x 4.02 x 1.60m) is a game changer as far as transport goes. A simple tap on a touch screen determines your location and voila you’ll be hovering to that Friday brunch you’re so late for.
In terms of stats, the Ehang 184 averages a speed of 100km/h, and can be airbourne for 30-mins, thanks to a battery charge time of 1-2 hours.
The Ehang also gets bonus point for eco-friendliness being power completely by electricity. There is one clear downside though; the maximum weight only goes up to 100kg so if you’re on the way to the airport, pack light!
Although it is still at prototype level, the trial period for this flying taxis is expected to start summer 2017.