Sheikh Hamdan hails Dubai's flying taxi after test flight

Dubai Crown Prince attends maiden flight of autonomous air taxi being developed by German firm
Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan pictured inspecting the RTA's new autonomous flying taxi.
By Staff writer
Mon 25 Sep 2017 07:56 PM

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, on Monday attended the maiden concept flight of the autonomous air taxi (AAT).

The vehicle will be used for the world’s first self-flying taxi service set to be introduced by Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA), a statement said.

The two-seater AAT, capable of transporting people without human intervention or a pilot, has been supplied by Volocopter, a Germany-based specialist manufacturer of autonomous air vehicles.

The test flight was held at a location near the Jumeirah Beach Park.


 
“After the remarkable success of the first driverless metro in the region, we are glad to witness today the test flight of the Autonomous Air Taxi,” said Sheikh Hamdan. “This is another testament to our commitment to driving positive change. We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society.”

His Highness stressed the importance of the transportation sector, which he said is a vital driver of the development process and an indicator of the level of advancement of the nation.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman of Emirates Group, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future and Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy and chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority also attended the test flight.

HE Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the RTA said: “The Autonomous Air Taxi has a variety of unique features that include top security and safety standards, and multiple redundancies in all critical components such as propellers, motors, power source, electronics and flight controls.

"It is also fitted with optional emergency parachutes, nine independent battery systems, and a battery quick-charge and plug-in system, which takes two hours to reach full charge in the prototype version, a time that will be significantly reduced in the production version.”



Powered by clean electricity and featuring low noise levels, the AAT is an environmentally-friendly vehicle. Its current prototype version has a maximum flight time of approximately 30 minutes at a cruise speed of 50 km/h, and a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h.

The AAT service will be available to the public through a smart mobility app which will allow customers to book flights, receive booking reference details and track the route of the AAT.

Over the next five years, the RTA said it will collaborate with the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that the operational requirements for implementing AAT services are put in place.

These requirements include developing laws and policies governing certification of the aircraft and AAT operations, defining aerial routes and corridors, designing and locating take-off and landing points, setting standards for official operators of AAT services in Dubai, identifying the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders, and specifying security and safety standards for the AAT.

Al Tayer revealed that the RTA has appointed US-based JDA Aviation Company, an autonomous air-vehicle safety specialist, to oversee preparations for AAT flights and manage safety.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.