Volocopter flying taxi takes unmanned flight over Dubai

Rival Chinese firm eHang was supposed to be the first to launch a fleet of flying taxis in the city but its plans appear to have been delayed.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, who attended the maiden concept flight on Monday at a location near the Jumeirah Beach Park, specifically noted that the flight of the AAT vehicle comes "after the remarkable success of the first driverless metro in the region". They are in the record books again after unveiling its new two-seater, self-flying taxi that can transport people around without a pilot.

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority announced the flying drones at the 2017 World Government Summit in February. Rudolph said the test was monitored by a new drone tracking system newly implemented by the DCAA to ensure flight safety at all times in Dubai airspace.

It also gave the first real look inside the two-metre-wide, two-seat air taxi to reveal a fairly intimate cabin and a dash unit displaying flight data.

Volocopter says the taxi runs on electric power and can fly for 30 minutes without needing to charge.

Powered by clean electricity and featuring low noise levels, the AAT is an environmentally-friendly vehicle.

"This is another testament to our commitment to driving positive change", said Sheikh Hamdan in a statement.

The vehicle, which can carry two passengers, has been developed by the German firm Volocopter and is powered by 18 rotor blades.

Over the next five years, the RTA will work with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to develop laws, operational guidelines and to define specifications and standards applicable to operators before the commercial trips.

German firm Volocopter, however, is not the only one experimenting with new modes of air public transport and already has its horns locked with several European and USA firms that are innovating on creating the next go-to mode of futuristic public transport, whether that be a driverless vehicle or a vertical take-off and landing aircraft. "We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society".

  • Angelo Rivera