Self-driving flying taxis are no longer a thing of science fiction as they will start to roll out in Dubai this July.
Called the EHANG184, the autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) had its first successful test run carried out by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) together with the Chinese EHANG Company.
According to HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, the trial run of the first AAV is in implementation of the directives of HH 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.
He says that it replicates Dubai Self-driving Transport Strategy aimed at transforming 25% of total individual trips in Dubai into Self-driving trips using various modes of transport by 2030.
But what is the vehicle technology all about?
EHANG184 is essentially an electric-powered drone that can fly without human direction, capable of traveling as long as 30 minutes. It has a maximum cruising speed of 160 km/hr in as high as 3,000 feet, with a standard speed of 100 km/hr. Its battery can be charged to full in 1 to 2 hours.
It is 3.90 meters long, 4.02 meters wide and 1.60 m high, weighing at 250 kilograms. The AAV is able to fit and support one passenger and a bag at a time.
The rider can be as chill as possible inside the vehicle after selecting a destination, which has preset routes, displayed in a map. This is shown in a touchscreen fitted to the front of the passenger seat.
RTA and EHANG designed the AAV to operate under all climatic conditions except during thunderstorms. It can also resist vibration and extreme temperatures thanks to its highly accurate sensors.
“The vehicle is fitted with eight main propellers, where each propeller would operate at a time, and the systems are separated from the contents of the vehicle,” says Al Tayer, describing the highest levels of security in the design and manufacture of the AAV.
“In case of any failure in the first propeller, there would be seven other propellers ready to complete the flight and a smooth landing, while mitigating the impact of the fault sustained by the first propeller,” he adds.
Moreover, there is a ground control center that monitors and controls the entire operation of the AAV through the 4G data network, with M2M and LTE technologies as backup. For this, the rider should not fear for his or her life when something goes wrong while inside the world’s first AAV.
Source: UAE Media Office