Dubai’s Flying Taxis

Just when you think things can’t in any stranger, Dubai shifts the goalposts and opens up a world of possibilities.

Flying Taxis have been tested and will soon be put into effect in Dubai.  That’s mad, right?  It’s not just me?

Not only will Dubai be operating fully fledged flying taxis, they will be 100% completely automated drone helicopters.

These are modelled after the typical consumer quadcopter drones that you can buy and control with your smartphone, except the Dubai Flying Taxi will have 18 rotors instead of the usual 4.  I guess that makes them an octodecuplecopter?  I’m not sure of the terminology.

These computer-controlled taxis will hopefully be able to account for around 25% of all of the total trips taken in Dubai by 2030.

The Dubai Flying Taxi’s proper name is the Autonomous Air Taxi, or the AAT, for short and is claimed by Dubai to be the world’s very first, ‘self-flying taxi service.’  The Dubai Flying Taxi, as we prefer to call it, is currently still in the prototype stage but is well into the testing phase.

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At its current capabilities, the Dubai Flying Taxi is able to fly for a maximum of 30 minutes which, let’s be honest, would probably take you anywhere you needed to go within the city, especially since the Dubai Flying Taxi can reach speeds of up to 100km/h (62 mph).  The Dubai Taxi does have a cruising speed of 50km/h (31mph) though, so don’t be expecting to rocket around Dubai’s airways at 100km/h straight away.

Dubai’s Flying Taxis will be completely electric, so there’s no worries about emissions or damage to the environment at all.  They will also be designed to have minimal noise output, nobody wants great big buzzing helicopters flying all over the place, do they?

The Dubai Flying Taxi has been built by German manufacturer, Volocopter, who are dedicated to providing the world with its first autonomous, safe, electric VTOL (Vertical take-off and landing) multirotor vehicle.  It seems like they might be able to achieve that goal with Dubai as their first city to promote the Volocopter.

Volocopter and Dubai are talking about a future where you can easily call a Flying Taxi to your location via an app, like Uber, Lyft or Careem, then proceed to the nearest, ‘Voloport,’ where the Dubai Flying Taxi will be waiting for them.

Of course it’ll be a slow adoption but in order to make people feel a little safer, the Dubai Flying Taxi will come with some backup batteries, spare rotors and a couple of parachutes.  Although we doubt they’ll ever actually be needed, it’s nice to have it there just in case.

At the moment the Flying Taxis can fly only via a GPS track but hopefully soon they will be outfitted with sensors that can detect and avoid objects autonomously.  You’ll be able to book one from your cheap hotel in Dubai and see the city from the skies, very soon.

If you’re not a fan of heights, just think how much less traffic there will be on the roads if Dubai’s Flying Taxi really takes off, pardon the pun.

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