The once bold idea of flying driverless cars has become a reality.
“It already is capable of flying based on GPS tracks today, and we will implement full sense capability, also dealing with unknown obstacles on the way.”
What better place to do the test flight than Dubai, the biggest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is a hub of innovation, technology, and the future.
The test flight took place during a ceremony that was arranged for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) is a flying taxi developed by e-volo’s Volocopter, a drone company from Germany. AAT is an unmanned two-seater drone with 18 propellers, and uses power from electricity or batteries. Because of its driverless flight, this light sport multicopter has the ability to move people from one place to another without experiencing interruptions from the following:
- Human intervention
- Need for a flight license
Just like Uber, passengers also have the power to book and track their AATs using the matching phone application.
According to Sheikh Hamdan, “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. 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.”
Other Capabilities of Autonomous Air Taxi
Aside from being a self-driving air taxi, which is already a big deal, AAT also offers other attributes such as:
- The ability to fly across Dubai for 30 minutes.
- The speed of up to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour).
- Deploying emergency parachutes.
- The capability to rely on its nine independent battery systems.
- The battery quick-charge and plug-in system – only two hours to reach full charge for the prototype (will be significantly reduced when the drone goes into production).
Experts from Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA), one of the most assertive local transit authorities, mentioned that AAT will take five years of testing in order to create legislation and safety procedures that will keep it up to par in the ever-evolving world of transportation.
Florian Reuter, the CEO of AAT, stated that, “It already is capable of flying based on GPS tracks today, and we will implement full sense capability, also dealing with unknown obstacles on the way.”
It is no doubt that Volocopter relies on technology as its strength, but that does not stop other competitors from producing their very own fiction-inspired creation. Giving the company a run for its money are Uber, Kitty Hawk, and even the aerospace giant, Airbus.
Just like its iconic high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, the city is also skyrocketing because of its consistent progress in helping improve people’s lives. The completed test for the autonomous flying taxi is going to have a bold impact on the transportation sector of Dubai, and eventually to other countries as well.