• Dubai eyeing flying taxis


    The legislations around operating the autonomous aerial taxi still need to be developed, according to a top official at Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

    Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the recent Gitex Technology Week, Khaled Al Awadi, director of automated collection system at the RTA, said that several specifications, in terms of insurance, need to be developed.

    The aerial taxi was on display for the first time. Visitors at the Gitex Technology Week got a close look at the new technology, which is the first of its kind in the world.

    “An autonomous air taxi is a project we started with a German company and with the General Civil Aviation Authority,” Al Awadi said. “We will be evolving the technology and make sure of the taxi’s specifications in terms of Dubai’s weather and we will be developing the legislation around the city to operate this vehicle in the future.”

    “The legislation will be relating to operations for this vehicle. We need legislation around the insurance of the vehicle and legislation around the operator, who will be operating this vehicle as there will be multiple operators. There are specifications that need to be finalised for new operators in the city,” he added.

    Al Awadi said that Dubai will be “leading the world” with this as the emirate will be the first to have this. “In the upcoming five years this will be in operation in Dubai, so people can use it and integrate it. It will be integrated with the current transport system.”

    “One of the things we need to make sure it is safe enough because at the end of the day it’s about safe and smooth transformation,” he said. The flying taxi is electric-powered, run by nine independent quick-change and has plug-in battery systems.

    It can cruise at a speed of 50 kph with the maximum airspeed set at 100kph. The maximum flight time is approximately 30 minutes, while battery charging will take 40 minutes.

    It also has 18 rotors to ensure safe cruising and landing of the taxi in case of any rotor failure and it is fitted with a full aircraft emergency parachute. It also boasts of luxurious interiors and leather seating for two persons.



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