Read: Flying taxi model on display at World Government Summit
Air taxis will begin flying in Dubai within three years, says Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed made the announcement on Twitter, where he revealed he had approved designs for air taxi stations at the World Government Summit in Dubai this week.
“From the World Government Summit, we approved today the design of the new air taxi stations in Dubai, which will start operating within three years,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.
A video accompanying the tweet says: “RTA has been working with advanced air mobility companies Skyports Infrastructure and Joby Aviation to design and develop the infrastructure for an expected launch of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) operations by 2026.”
It says Dubai is set to become the world's first city with a fully developed network of vertiports. The initial launch will connect four main areas: near Dubai International Airport, Downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina.
It says the “safe and efficient” aircraft will offer passengers a “smooth end-to-end passenger journey” with zero operating emissions. Each aircraft will accommodate a pilot and four passengers, with a 241km range and a 300kph top speed.
The prospect of flying cars in Dubai is one that has been mooted before.
Chinese firm XPeng Aeroht showed off its two-seater electric VTOL flying car in a demonstration in Dubai last October.
A crowd at Skydive Dubai watched the unmanned vehicle rise into the air, with the company’s head of aviation affairs, Dr Liu Xinying, claiming viable flying vehicles in urban environments could be a reality sooner rather than later.
“The company is working on a sixth generation of a flying car that can take off and land vertically, with autonomous flight path planning,” he said at the time.
“It is scheduled to be mass produced and delivered in 2024.”