Dubai plans July launch of air taxis

They may look like an oversized version of the typical drone, but they’re far more sophisticated – and capable of carrying one passenger and a (very) small suitcase.

But you won’t need to bother about flying the drone yourself: it’s all done via remote control from a sophisticated command centre.

Just swing open the gull-wing door, buckle yourself into the F1-style seat, fire up the airconditioning, tap your destination on the touchscreen and let this eight-rotor ‘autonomous personal transportation vehicle’ do the rest.

Built by Chinese firm EHang, the model 184 – which was named for ‘one’ passenger, ‘eight’ propellers, and ‘four’ arms – has already made some trial runs around Dubai and according to Mattar Al Tayer, the head of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, is on track to begin a commercial service by July.

The EHang 184 can fly up to 50km or about 30 minutes at around 100km/h, although it can redline at 160km/h if you’re in a rush.

But with a price tag of between $260,000 and $390,000 per unit, EHang also sees opportunities for the 184 as a private drone for the well-heeled.

The four arms, when folded into the body, allow the drone to occupy the same size parking space as a mid-sized sedan.

The Dubai government is also examining the use of the Hyperloop superfast train-in-a-tube technology to link the city to Abu Dhabi, and also shift container cargo from the Jebel Ali seaport to an inland hub.

(Source credit – Australian Business Traveller)

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