Dubai Transport Authority recently said that it has tested a Chinese prototype of a self-driving hover-taxi with the aim of introducing the aerial vehicle in July. The vehicle has been made by Chinese drone manufacturer EHang and can recharge in two hours and make trips of up to 30 minutes. According to a statement released by the Authority, the EHang 184 can travel on a programmed course at 100kmh at an altitude of 300 meters. The test of the one-man electric vehicle comes as the city-state in the United Arab Emirates seeks to ensure a quarter of its means of transport are self-driving by 2030. Here are some of the features of the taxi:
- Auto-piloted, directed and monitored via a command Centre
- Fitted with advanced navigation technologies
- Operates within an area of 40 to 50 kilometers
- Can carry 100 kgs and a small suitcase
- Battery operated with 30 minutes of flight time
- Seat fitted with tablet for drop off destination
A passenger simply needs to select a destination for the autonomous taxi to take off, fly the route and touchdown in the chosen spot monitored by a ground control centre, it said.
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“The autonomous aerial vehicle exhibited at the World Government Summit is not just a model,” authority head Mattar al-Tayer told AFP. The hover-taxi is powered by eight propellers, the authority said. It has highly accurate sensors and can resist extreme temperatures, it said. The emirate is known for its scorching summers.
In November last year, Dubai agreed a deal with US startup Hyperloop One study the construction of a near-supersonic transport link to the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi. Home to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, Dubai is a leading tourist destination in the Gulf, attracting a record 14.9 million visitors in 2016. Recently, Burj Khalifa was lit up in the tricolor of the Indian National flag.