Dubai held tests for the first drone taxis this week which are self-piloting, electronically operated and less noisy. They are called Volocopters and hold out an edge over traditional helicopters in terms of speed, utility and noise.
This could mean that soon we might be commuting with a flying car. The German made Volocopter leaves behind a smaller environmental footprint and is also physically smaller than the routine copter. It can carry two passengers and is around 6.5-foot-high with a 22-foot-wide hoop that carries 18 rotors. The white colored drone was tested this week and it was seen to rise unassisted and unoccupied to around 650 feet over the sand near Jumeirah Beach Park. It flew for around five minutes before landing gently in a successful test run.
Dubai aims that by 2030 it is going to have one quarter of all its local passenger trips in driverless transport. This is despite the fact that Dubai ranks 85th in the list of countries where traffic is terrible! But still a move in this direction would be welcome and soon other countries could be following its footsteps. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai was all in favour of “encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies” for the development of the country and also to develop “bridges into the future” in his statement. To this end Dubai has been working with Chinese drone maker EHang Inc. The test flight was watched by the Crown Prince.
The Volocoptor can be charged up completely in about two hours and can fly at around 30 miles per hour for around half an hour. It can max up to 60 mph. At present to be on the safe side the Volocoptor also has battery systems, propellers and a flight controls along with motors. It carries parachutes just in case too. According to manufacturers, this should be in the market by next year and price is not yet revealed.