Dubai hopes to launch autonomous drone taxi service in July

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bai officials have revealed plans to launch autonomous drone passenger craft as early as this July.

Speaking at the World Government Summit, the head of Dubai’s Roads & Transportation Agency Mattar al-Tayer said the EHang 184 drone, originally from China, has already made its debut flying over the Burj al-Arab skyscraper hotel, but the transport will one day be more than a novelty.

As reported by the Associated Press, it remains to be seen whether the four-legged, egg-shaped drone could one day become an alternative to congested roads in the region, but Dubai’s investment into futuristic technologies does indicate this may one day be the case.

The drone itself, introduced at CES 2016 and tested in Nevada, uses a four-rotor design and is capable of carrying up to 100kg or an individual passenger and limited cargo.

EHang says that once a passenger has input their destination on the drone’s touchscreen, the EHang is capable of flying for 23 minutes at sea level or 10 minutes at up to 62 miles an hour if higher altitudes are needed — such as the need to avoid skyscrapers and the tall buildings Dubai is known for.

The drone’s top speed is 100mph and the autonomous vehicle can operate in an area of up to 50km.

Last year, EHang announced plans to work with Lung Biotechnology to launch the drone as a fast way to transport organs, but Al-Tayer said officials have already “experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai’s skies

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