The world’s first autonomous flying taxi is expected to be in the air by the end of the year, Dubai transport officials have revealed.
The German-designed Volocopter will begin testing in the final quarter of 2017, followed by a five-year evaluation period.
The RTA also announced that it is working with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to develop the world’s first autonomous aviation laws and operational guidelines. Because the Volocopter carries only passengers, its occupants do not need a pilot licence.
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A new video released by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) shows what it might be like to travel in the pilotless aircraft, which can carry up to two passengers and is powered by 18 electric rotors.
The Volocopter forms part of Dubai’s strategy to develop autonomous public transport, with the aim of making one in four journeys on mass transit driverless by 2020.
These include buses and taxis, along with the expansion of the Dubai Metro, which is already autonomous.
The RTA said autonomous transport is more efficient, cleaner and safer. The flying taxi has nine separate electrical power systems as a fail-safe device and will also carry a parachute large enough to allow the aircraft and its passengers to float safely back to the ground.