Is this the taxi of the future? Our friends from Lowe Guardians will tell us what Dubai’s drone taxis could mean for all of us.
Dubai will be taking a step into the future by launching their drone taxis later this year. This innovation was reported by Dubai’s Roads and Transportation Agency. These self-driven, fully automated drone taxis can carry a single passenger weighing at least 220 pounds with a small suitcase. The drone taxi can take its passengers to destinations within a 50-kilometer radius.
This development sounds like one taken straight out from an episode of the Jetsons, but it is already a few months away from becoming a reality. What does this mean for the rest of world?
Dubai’s drone taxis open the possibility of beating ground traffic with autonomous aerial vehicles. With its ability to take off and land vertically, these drones are the solutions to annoying and time-consuming traffic situations that many cities all over the world are inconvenienced with. Many other companies have shown interest and are trying to follow Dubai’s example. Uber, for one, is already working hard on taking its business from the highways to the skies in order to deliver their passengers faster. They are currently looking at different possibilities to make their dream a reality. Israel, through Urban Aeronautics, has their hopes up with their very own Coromant AirMule, which they plan to use as for taxis and emergency services.
This development is very exciting, but at the same time, it poses problems for passengers and operators alike. Safety is at the forefront, with people doubting how a battery operated drone can transport its passenger across the skies. Recent studies in the United States revealed that only about 5% of respondents on a YouGov survey stated that they would feel safe with a drone taxi’s setup of carrying only one passenger per flight.
These concerns are legitimate. Can one really rely on a drone taxi? How will it launch and land? What happens when you are in the sky, and a propeller comes off? Manufacturers of the Ehang 184 AAV, the model that will be used for Dubai’s sky taxis, have assured people that it is well-equipped and very capable of doing its task. It is designed to have four propellers thereby having four thrust points that provides added stability to the vehicle.
Other problems that could crop up with these drone taxis is how it will elevate the noise pollution in an area, what happens when the skies become congested, how can it safely and comfortably launch and land in congested areas, and how will it perform depending on the weather.
There is still a long way to go with regards to perfecting the technology for drone taxis. After all, this is the first time it will be used, and there is still a lot of room for improvement. However, there is a lot of promise in this project. The ease of commuting and the improvement of traffic on the ground are just some of the advantages that this new technology offers. By the year 2020, expect that taking drone taxis would be the norm.