Lonely Planet Writer

Flying taxis in Dubai complete their first test flight

Being stuck in a traffic jam can play havoc with your plans, but the future of transport has edged a step nearer to reality now that autonomous flying taxis in Dubai have completed their first test flight.

Dubai’s flying taxis have completed their first test flight. Image: Dubai Media Office

As part of the United Arab Emirates‘ plan to introduce flying cars and other high-tech transportation options, the world’s first self-flying taxi recently had its test flight. During the unmanned test, the drone hovered almost 700 feet in the air for five minutes.

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Dubai Media Office released a video of the test flight, which was attended by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. “An achievement that will build on UAE’s track record as a country that embraces the future,” he said in an Instagram post. “We are racing ahead of time and implementing tomorrow’s projects today.”

German drone manufacturer Volocopter developed the autonomous air taxi, which takes two hours to fully charge, fits two people and is guided by GPS. The idea is that customers will order a Volocopter to their nearest voloport via a phone app, and it comes and autonomously picks them up and takes them to your destination. An environmentally-friendly form of transport, passengers will be able to embark on journeys of up to 50km in the future based on the maximum flight time of 30 minutes.

Dubai’s flying taxis have completed their first test flight. Image: Dubai Media Office

The Roads & Transport Authority in Dubai plans to transform 25% of all transport journeys to autonomous by 2030. As well as the physical aspects of such an undertaking, it is also working on the legal, regulatory and infrastructural side aspects of what it calls the AAT – Autonomous Air Taxi –  such as safety standards, routes and take-off and landing points.