Dubai begins testing drone taxi service

Haythem Elmir

A driverless flying taxi drone has begun testing in Dubai, with hopes that the volocopter will be launched within five years to allow for two passengers to fly on journeys of up to 30 minutes.

Dubai has announced the first test flight for its taxi drone, which saw the driverless flying transport service hover around 200 metres above the ground during a five-minute flight.

The taxi drone was designed by German company Volocopter, and resembles a two-seater helicopter topped by a hoop equipped with 18 propellers, designed for 30-minute flights at maximum.

The drone also comes with back-up batteries, rotors, and two parachutes in case of flight failures, and would involve building « voloports » from where passengers would embark and disembark the service.

The test flight took place as part of a ceremony for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. Following the trial, Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said the company plans to launch the flying taxi service within five years.

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