World’s first flying taxi takes off in Dubai

Dubai created aviation history as it tested the world’s first flying taxi which will revolutionise modern means of transportation. The maiden concept flight of the Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) was conducted at a location near the Jumeriah Beach Park.

first Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT), dubai
The first Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) being tested near Jumeriah Beach Park in Dubai. Photo courtesy:

His Highness Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, witnessed the spectacular event which will be a turning point in aviation.

Road and Transport Authority (RTA) will operate the world’s first self-flying taxi service. The aerial taxi will shuttle passengers across the city without a pilot.

The two-seater AAT developed by German drone firm Volocopter is capable of transporting people without human intervention or a pilot.

His Highness Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai pressing the operation button to launch the first AAT.
His Highness Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai pressing the operation button to launch the first AAT. Photo courtesy:

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan pressed the operation button to launch the first AAT and watched its flight in the sky. He also watched aerial shots transmitted by the airborne taxi on monitors, and reviewed the process that the RTA will follow to track the flight of the AAT.

Sheikh Hamadan, said, “After the remarkable success of the first driverless Metro in the region, we are glad to witness today the test flight of the AAT. This is another testament to our commitment to driving positive change. We are constantly exploring opportunities to serve the community and advance the prosperity and happiness of society.”

He added, “Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contribute not only to the country's development but also build bridges into the future.”

Giving details about the features of the AAT, Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, said, “The AAT has a variety of unique features that include top security and safety standards, and multiple redundancies in all critical components such as propellers, motors, power source, electronics and flight controls. It is also fitted with optional emergency parachutes, nine independent battery systems, and a battery quick-charge and plug-in system, which takes two hours to reach full charge in the prototype version, a time that will be significantly reduced in the production version.”

AAT is an environmentally-friendly vehicle powered by clean electricity and featuring low noise levels.

Its current prototype version has a maximum flight time of approximately 30 minutes at a cruise speed of 50 km/h, and a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h. All these features will evolve in the production vehicles.

The AAT measures about two meters in height, and the diameter of the rotor rim, including propellers, is just over seven metrers.

The AAT will be available to the public through an app, which will allow customers to book flights, receive booking reference details and track routes.

Over the next five years, the RTA will collaborate with the General Civil Aviation Authority and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that the operational requirements for implementing AAT services are put in place.

These requirements include developing laws and policies governing certification of the aircraft and AAT operations at an emirate and federal level; defining aerial routes and corridors; designing and locating take-off and landing points; setting standards for official operators of AAT services in Dubai; identifying the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders; and specifying security and safety standards for the AAT.

Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.


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