Dubai to launch passenger drones in July
Dubai has announced the launch of 'pilot less' drones at the World Government Summit. These drones can travel at speeds upto 100 miles an hour and will be equipped to carry 1 passenger weighing up to 100 kg. Regular passenger trips will commence in less than five months, in July 2017. China-made autonomous aerial vehicle, Ehang 184 AAV, has already successfully made test flights.
What's with '184'?
Ehang 184, signifies 'one' for passenger, 'eight' for propellers, and 'four' for arms. When not being used, the drone can be folded away and stored with ease.
Futuristic drones in the sky
The Chinese Ehang 184 was unveiled in CES in Las Vegas last year. It's the world's first 'Autonomous Aerial Vehicle' to transport people and is ideal for short to medium distances. It can travel 30 minutes on one charge: the passengers are merely required to enter their destination on a touchscreen in front of passenger seat and the drone systems take over.
Massive potential for Ehang 184
The Ehang 184 takes off and lands vertically. According to co-founder of Ehang, George Yan, "Mass-adoption of the 184 has the potential to streamline congested traffic and dramatically reduce the kinds of accidents associated with any human-operated vehicle." The makers also believe that Ehang has the potential to have an indelible impact on industries and verticals beyond personal travel.
How efficient and safe are 'pilot less' drones?
Ehang 184 uses several 'independent flight systems' for navigation purposes and combines real time data from embedded sensors to optimize travel routes preventing collision. The 184 has reinforcements for flight systems which take over in case of a malfunction: in case of an emergency, passengers can hit a button and halt flight mid-air. There is also a command centre to monitor flights' safety.
Dubai's vision for driverless vehicles
Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced last year that by 2030, 25% of all passenger trips in Dubai will be by driverless modes. Currently, there is a driverless EZ10 cruise near the Burj Khalifa.