Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Sept 26th: The world’s first self-flying taxi was launched at the Jumeirah Beach Park in Dubai, United Arab Emirates today. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, The Crown Prince of Dubai, on Monday attended the maiden concept flight of pilotless flying taxi developed by a German firm, Volocopter.
The vehicle will be used for the world’s first self-flying taxi service set to be introduced by Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA).
Dubai is hoping to begin commercial operations of the pilotless aerial taxis in the next five years, according to a senior Road and Transport Authority (RTA) official report ArabianBusiness.
The government expects autonomous transportation modes will help generate increased economic revenues, as well as savings of up to $5.99 billion a year.
The two-seater AAT, capable of transporting people without human intervention or a pilot, has been supplied by Volocopter, Germany’s specialist manufacturer of autonomous air vehicles.
The test flight was held at a location near the Jumeirah Beach Park.
“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,” said Crown Prince bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Powered by clean electricity and featuring low noise levels, the AAT is an environmentally-friendly vehicle. Its current prototype version has a maximum flight time of approximately 30 minutes at a cruise speed of 50 km/h, and a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h.
The AAT service will be available to the public through a smart mobility app which will allow customers to book flights, receive booking reference details and track the route of the AAT.
Photo: Dubai Launches Self-flying Taxis, World’s First
Over the next five years, the RTA said in a statement it will collaborate with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that the operational requirements for implementing AAT services are put in place.
These requirements include developing laws and policies governing certification of the aircraft and AAT operations, defining aerial routes and corridors, designing and locating take-off and landing points, setting standards for official operators of AAT services in Dubai, identifying the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, and specifying security and safety standards for the AAT.
Al Tayer revealed that the RTA has appointed US-based JDA Aviation Company, an autonomous air-vehicle safety specialist, to oversee preparations for AAT flights and manage safety.