The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) has begun testing an autonomous air taxi. Flying transport flew at an altitude of 200 meters above the residential area in a strong wind for about five minutes.
New air taxi (AAT) built by the German company Volocopter. They represent a kind of helicopter with rotors of the drone instead of the main propeller, while the number of propellers can vary from 2 to 18. The launch of an unmanned taxi, a test for strength and a solemn landing were arranged by the heir of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. In her statement, the sheikh noted that the successful flight of flying vehicles, as well as the earlier launch of the first in the region autonomous metro train, are “evidence of a desire for positive changes” and progress designed to serve society and promote its prosperity.
Of course, within the scope of the test program, only a part of the potential possibilities of creating Volocopter was demonstrated. The company wants to achieve a stable 30-minute flight with real passengers inside, the safety of which will be ensured by numerous precautions, including backup batteries, rotors and, just in case, even a couple of parachutes.
Currently, the taxi exists in the form of a prototype, but if the tests pass successfully and all permits from municipal services are received on time, the company hopes to start mass production of flying vehicles. The Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA) has earned fame as one of the most rigorous and picky institutions when it comes to technological innovation. By 2030, it hopes to transfer at least a quarter of passenger traffic to flying vehicles. Dubai is already moving along the road to modernize vehicles with leaps and bounds: recently the authorities even released on the roads self-propelled police drones, monitoring the territory.
RTA CEO Mattar Al Thayer said the AAT “has many unique features that include the highest safety standards, and is equipped with additional emergency parachutes, nine stand-alone batteries and a fast battery charging system.” The battery now requires two hours to fully charge, but this is a prototype version, and in the production version this time will be greatly reduced. ”
Ideally, Volocopter intends to launch an air taxi service within the next five years. According to the general director of AAT Florian Reiter, already now the transport is equipped with a GPS-navigator and perfectly feels in the city.