Dubai Wants To Become 1st City With Drone Taxis
October, 02nd 2017
Under an ambitious plan by the United Arab Emirates city to lead the Arab world in innovation, on Monday Dubai have showcased a flight for what it said would soon be the world's first drone taxi service.
German drone firm Volocopter has developed the flying taxi which resembles a small, two-seater helicopter cabin topped by a wide hoop studded with 18 propellers.
Meant to run autonomous with a maximum flight duration of 30 minutes, it comes with plenty of fail-safes in case of trouble: rotors, back-up batteries, and, for a worst case scenario, a couple of parachutes.
Volocopter is in a race with more than a dozen well-funded European and U.S. firms, each with a smiliar vision for creating a new form of urban transport that is a cross between a driverless electric car and a short-hop, vertical takeoff-and-landing aircraft.
These include aerospace giant Airbus, which aims to put a self-piloting taxi in the air by 2020;Uber, which is working with partners on its own flying taxi strategy and a company backed by Google co-founder Larry Page called Kitty Hawk.
"We only go public when we can show something that flies," Alexander Zosel, Volocopter's co-founder and chief innovation officer, told Reuters He added"We show facts, not visions."
The company performed its first test run in a ceremony staged for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.
UAE has sought to distinguish itself in a region mired in war and strife as a high-tech, forward-looking society.
The Arab world has planned its first mission to space by sending an unnamed probe to Mars by 2021, and Dubai has in many ways led their showy march into the future by introducing the region's first robot policemen prototypes and driverless metro.
"Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contributes not only to the country's development but also builds bridges into the future," Sheikh Hamdan said in a statement.