A model of EHang 184 and the next generation of Dubai Drone Taxi is seen during the second day of the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell/EHANG)
Dubai will get self-flying taxis this year
May 11, 2017
Flying cars have long been the hallmark of a not-yet-realized fantastical future. And though it seems we are not there yet, you may want to fasten your seatbelts. As Leslie Josephs reports for Quartz, Dubai will offer self-flying taxis. And it could happen by July.
OK, so they're not what you might think of as a car. Rather, the taxis are drones. They propel themselves and a single passenger up to 31 miles. They fly at a speed of over 99 miles per hour. But the vehicles might just usher in an era of roadless travel. The announcement came during a government summit in Dubai. The conference was, in part, devoted to the future of traffic.
Dubai's plan is futuristic indeed. In a release, the city's transportation authority writes that the city plans to make a full 25 percent of its travel autonomous. It could happen by the year 2030. The taxis are part of that plan. They are called the EHANG 184. They are produced in China. The electric craft can fly to a single point designated by the passenger once entering the vehicle.
On its website, EHANG writes that the automated vehicles are prevented from taking off during severe weather. They can fly for up to 25 minutes with a payload as heavy as 220 pounds. However, Engadget reports that the craft has been updated. It can now fly for five more minutes and hold 40 more pounds. They include air conditioners and a futuristic-looking seat. That's not to mention the potential for spectacular views of the United Arab Emirates' most populous city.
The taxis have already been tested in Dubai, reports Josephs. And the city is all about the travel of the future. It would include a driverless metro and there are plans to study a potential future hyperloop system.
How much will the taxis cost? How will Dubai manage hailing and fares? Those details are unclear. But one thing is. The future (kind of) has arrived.
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is the range of the self-flying taxis limited?
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