Yes, you read that correctly… Flying cars in Dubai. The world’s first test run of an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) capable of flying a human has been carried out. Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) made the exciting announcement on Monday 13th Feb, in collaboration with the Chinese EHANG company.
Basically the AAV is a driverless flying car, fitted with a touchscreen that has a map of destinations for the passenger to choose from. It will then take off, travel to the destination and land all on its own.
And just in case you’re thinking “that sounds way too futuristic to become a reality any time soon,” think again. The RTA said in a statement that they are ready to start the operation as early as July.
Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the RTA said: “The trial run of the first AAV is in implementation of the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world.
“It is also part of RTA’s endeavors to provide self-driving transport through engaging in the technological tests of self-driving vehicles under Dubai environment.”
The flying vehicle, called the Ehang 184, isn’t just a test model; it’s the real version that will be used to transport people through the sky. A ground-based centre will control the operation to ensure everything runs smoothly.
“It replicates Dubai Self-driving Transport Strategy aimed at transforming 25 per cent of total individual trips in Dubai into self-driving trips using various modes of transport by 2030,” Mr Al Tayer added.
The Ehang 184 is designed to fly for a maximum of 30 minutes at 160 kilometres per hour. According to reports, the standard cruising speed set in Dubai is likely to be 100 kilometres per hour. It will ascend and descend at a rate of six metres per second.