Dubai has tested a Chinese prototype of a self-driving hover-taxi, its transport authority said on Monday, with the aim of introducing the aerial vehicle in the emirate by July.
The test of the one-man electric vehicle comes as the city state in the United Arab Emirates seeks to ensure a quarter of its means of transport are self-driving by 2030.
The EHang 184 can travel on a programmed course at 100 kilometres an hour (60 mph) at an altitude of 300 metres (1,000 feet), the authority said in a statement. The new version has an endurance of about 30 minute flying time. This is about 30 mile range. The drones can handle a flier and a small bag weighing up to a combined total of 220 pounds.
A passenger simply needs to select a destination for the autonomous taxi to take off, fly the route and touch down in the chosen spot monitored by a ground control center, it said.
The EHang 184 is very similar to a multicopter UAV with an X8 configuration.
The vehicle, made by Chinese drone manufacturer EHang, can recharge in two hours and make trips of up to 30 minutes.
The head of the Dubai Roads and Transportation Authority said Dubai wants to develop passenger-carrying drones as a way to move people around the United Arab Emirates’ biggest city. Officials said flights could begin in July, though few other details were offered.
The Chinese-made EHang 184 drone will be tested. It is an egg-shaped craft with four legs sticking out, each with two small propellers.