There are multiple news reports suggesting that Dubai may get its first self-flying taxi in July. It has four ‘legs’, looks like a big drone and can fly up to a speed of 160 kmph!
Is this the beginning of a revolution in urban transportation?
In a discussion on transportation of the future in the city earlier this month, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, had said, “We need to find new roles for those people [going to be displaced by driverless cars]” as increased manufacturing of autonomous cars will be “very disruptive and very quick.”
Echoing a similar sentiment, Travis Kalanick, CEO and co-founder of Uber, said he predicted roads will be populated with self-driving automobiles, eliminating traffic jams in as few as 5 years. He also said that 1.3 million individuals die annually from car accidents. “There will be no more traffic accidents” with self-driving cars.”
And, Dubai already has driverless metro trains.
Can carry up to 100 kgs
According to a The Telegraph report, the city is set to use Ehang 184 for the airborne service. It says the vehicle can can fly without human input for direction and on a journey up to 23 minutes long. It is capable of carrying only person and a bag and a weight of 100 kgs or 220 lbs.
Here’s a video that demonstrates the capability of the drone:
Other passenger drones
Urban Aeronautics, an Israeli company, has said its passenger drone — a much bigger one that can carry a weight of up to 500 kg and fly up to 185 kmph —could be in use by 2020.
A BBC report quotes a drone expert as saying that it could be a “landmark” moment in low altitude navigation. He said the drone could initially be used for humanitarian rescue in dangerous terrains.
Everyone’s pouring money into making drones and towards faster and driverless transportation.
Another The Telegraph reports quotes Airbus’s chief executive, Tom Enders, as saying that it plans to test a small prototype vehicle by the end of the year.
“If we ignore these developments, we will be pushed out of important segments of the business,” he was quoted as saying.