Dubai Set to Get Passenger Drone Taxi Service This Summer
In what seems like another effort to become a Middle Eastern hub of technology, Dubai is set to launch a passenger drone taxi service this summer. And of course, it’s environmentally friendly!
Dubai is on a roll. Not long ago, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced their plans to colonize Mars within the next century. They also have plans in the works to build the world’s first rotating skyscraper. Now the tiny country plans to release a passenger drone taxi service as soon as July.
So why is so much technological advancement coming out of the UAE? It might be a tiny country, but it’s also the business epicenter of the Middle East. Which essentially also makes it one of the wealthiest. And what better way to show-off your disposable income than by building cool stuff just to show other people you can?
A Chinese company called Ehang built the vehicles for passenger drone fleet. And according to the Dubai Road and Transportation Authority, operation is set to start in July. The vehicles themselves are small enough to fit into a compact spot; and they’re electric! But the down-side is they can only carry one passenger at a time. The company titled the vehicles 184. Which stands for 1 person, 8 propellers, and 4 arms. And it only weights 440 pounds!
This seems really cool, right? Yeah, until you realize that your passenger drone has to be controlled from a station on the ground below. The system runs on 4G network– which is encrypted– but that doesn’t mean it’s completely immune to hacking. If a hacker can’t control the passenger drone, they could probably at least shut it off. Which is a pretty scary thought. Plus these things can only hold enough power to last about 30 minutes. What if you need to be in the air longer than that?
This is part of a larger plan that involves transitioning at least a quarter of all commutes in Dubai. Which they hope to reach by 2030. Eventually Dubai wants to be the “smartest” city in the world. And they’re well on their way with air conditioned bus stops. Unfortunately only the wealthiest people in the world will be able to enjoy these luxuries. For now.