Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Merle Christensen

Dubai announces passenger drone plans

Able to fly at altitudes of upto 500 metres and stay aloft for around 30 minutes, the fully unpiloted eight rotor aircraft can carry a single passenger weighing upto 100kg. In the latest example of the city's early-adoption mindset, the local transport authority has revealed that it has been testing Ehang's personal taxi drone, with plans to launch real operations this July.

The Chinese-made EHang 184 vehicles have already been tested in the skies above Dubai, the city's transport chief Mattar al-Tayer said. Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced the news this week, with a pod-like Chinese flying auto selected as the first approved vehicle. The drone service will use a Chinese-made EHang 184 drone that is created to carry a single passenger. The EHang 184's seat resembles that of a race vehicle, which adds to the appeal of the craft. The drone does not allow users to fly manually; an automated destination input/delivery system is created to eliminate human error.

The chopper will be monitored at all times from a ground control room.

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The maximum speed the EHang 184 can accomplish is 100 miles per hour; however, authorities have asserted that the drone will operate at a speed of 62 miles per hour.

Experts, however, say safety remains a key concern as it is yet unclear how reliable passenger drones are. This would enable the EHang 184 to get a clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S.

This language makes it clear that when the new Tesla limousine fleet finally does go fully autonomous, those using the service will have to do so utilizing the Tesla Network, laying the groundwork for invariable awkward relations with the Dubai Taxi Corporation.

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