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Dubai: first taxi-drones set to fly in July

The EHang 184 – a self-flying airborne vehicle made by Chinese manufacturer EHang – has had its first successful test in Dubai. The emirate is now looking to introduce taxi-drones of this kind as early as next July, with the aim of making 25% of its transport system autonomous by 2030, whilst continuing to develop the Hyperloop project.

The Road Transport Authority (RTA) of the emirate of Dubai has just carried out tests on a Chinese taxi-drone prototype called the EHang 184. The vehicle can travel from point A to point B along a pre-programmed route, flying 300 metres above ground at a speed of 100 km/h. The driver merely has to select the destination, and this new-generation taxi will then take off and transport him or her to the required location.

The EHang 184 is equipped with electric motors, takes two hours to recharge and has a flight range of almost 30 minutes. It can only transport one person at a time, and a control centre on the ground is required to coordinate the vehicle’s movement.

Tesla moving into the area

The RTA has already announced its intention to introduce this system to Dubai as early as July this year, with the emirate even looking to automate 25% of its transport system by 2030.

In a related move, Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla, which develops electric vehicles with self-driving technology, has announced that the constructor will also be opening a regional centre in Dubai.

Hyperloop leading the way

Of course, another futuristic means of transport also recently caught the eye of the RTA, namely the Hyperloop train. This system is being developed by Hyperloop One, who launched a feasibility study in early November 2016 in the United Arab Emirates.

The aim of that system is to link Dubai and Abu Dhabi in just 12 minutes, as opposed to the hour and a half currently required by motorway. The concept of the Hyperloop train, first mentioned by Musk back in 2013, would see passengers transported in pods which are propelled along air bearings in a near-vacuum tube

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