Think traveling by drone is a thing of the future? Well, the future isn’t all that far away. Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority has announced that the Ehang 184 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AVV) will be used to ferry passengers around the city as early as July of this year.
The single-seat Ehang 184 flies without a pilot, though the aerial taxis will be monitored from a remote control center. The electric-powered 184 has a payload of 220 pounds and can cruise for 25 minutes at an average speed of 37mph. It is capable of flying at altitudes up to around 11,500 feet above sea level.
In terms of how it will actually work, the taxis will only travel along predetermined routes. There are fixed takeoff and landing points. Passengers will be able to select their destination from those options on a touch screen in the cabin.
There is a list of safety precautions and redundancies for this plan. The controllers can override the automated system, including grounding the vehicles in the event of bad weather or other emergencies. All communication signals are encrypted and each taxi has its own distinct key. There are automatic landing protocols in the event of a malfunction or if the passenger needs an immediate landing.
There are still plenty of unanswered questions and even if Dubai’s plan goes well, it will be quite some time before drone taxi services come to the U.S.
Learn more at Ehang.