New Video Shows Dubai Testing the World's First Flying Taxi Service
Dubai hopes to have the first "self-flying taxi service" of the world, Autonomous Air Taxi, up and running within five years.
Dubai has one of the first major projects to make flying cars a reality. The Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) is an 18-rotor drone taxi that took to the skies recently. The AAT comes as a partnership between Dubai and the German firm Volocopter. The company claims to be the world's first "self-flying taxi service."
The drone flew upwards of 200 meters during its first public test. It comes with emergency parachutes and nine individual battery systems. Dubai officials want to "significantly" reduce the time it takes to charge all nine batteries.
HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA said, "The Autonomous Air Taxi has a variety of unique features that include top security and safety standards, and multiple redundancies in all critical components such as propellers, motors, power source, electronics and flight controls."
Government officials were extremely pleased with the testing. Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed enjoyed a five-minute flight above a patch of sand courtesy of the AAT. Ultimately, Volocopter wants to optimize those rides to approximately 30 minutes each. The company even wants to launch a corresponding smartphone app similar to Uber specifically for the AATs. It would allow users to book a taxi at a nearby "voloport."
"After the remarkable success of the first driverless metro in the region, we are glad to witness today the test flight of the Autonomous Air Taxi," said HH Sheikh Hamdan. "This is another testament to our commitment to driving positive change. We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society."
City officials hope to have the AAT system up and running within five years, assuming other tests continue to go well.
"Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contribute not only to the country’s development but also build bridges into the future," Sheikh Hamdan added.