A new era is dawning upon Dubai and it looks like something straight out of The Jetsons! Behold – the flying cars! Set to launch in July 2017, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) have announced that passenger drones will be buzzing over Dubai’s skyline! Having already tested, the autonomous aerial vehicles (AAV) has been exhibited at the World Government Summit in Dubai earlier in February of this year. The single passenger eight-rotor drone has already taken flight past the iconic Burj Al Arab and was deemed a success. Created in collaboration with Ehang, a Chinese Firm, the AAV Ehang 184 can fly for a maximum of 30 minutes.
“The AAV exhibited at the summit is not just a model; it’s the real version that we have already experimented with in a flight over Dubai’s skies! The RTA is making every effort to start the operation of the AAV in July 2017,” stated Mr. Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the RTA.
The Ehang 184 features a touchscreen in front of the passenger seat with a map of all the preset destinations in the form of dots. Since the routes are automated, all the passenger needs to do is select the intended destination on the map. The vehicle will then start and take off before cruising to the set destination. Once there, the AAV will start to descend and land in its designated spot. Rest assured, a ground-based center will monitor and control the entire operation and the RTA promises that a standby system is in place in the event of a malfunction! With a maximum weight of 100kg, the AAV will be able to accommodate a single passenger with enough room for a small piece of hand luggage.
“The AAV is designed to operate under all climatic conditions unless there is a thunderstorm. The vehicle is fitted with highly accurate sensors with a very low-error threshold and can resist vibrations and extreme temperatures,” said Mr. Al Tayer.
“The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority was a partner in our trials defining the safety criteria required, issuing the permits for trial and inspecting the vehicle, and the RTA appreciates their contribution.”
And with Etisalat being the prime network provider, the AAV was able to establish flawless communication with ground control under a 4G data network. “[Etisalat] had also provided the support needed to ensure the continued communication between the AAV and the control center through M2M and LTE technologies,” Mr. Al Tayer explained, adding that the successful operation of the AAV is a step towards the innovative and smart mobility solutions to reduce Dubai’s traffic congestion.
“The trial run of the first AAV is in implementation of the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world,” Mr. Al Tayer had added. “It is also part of the RTA’s endeavors to provide self-driving transport through engaging in the technological tests of self-driving vehicles in Dubai.” Because in the long run, Dubai aims to utilize various modes of self-driving transportation by 2030 under the Dubai Self-Driving Transport Strategy.