The two-seated Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) is the vehicle of choice for the world’s first self-flying taxi service, set to be introduced by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, the Dubai Government Media Office said in a statement.
The concept model has been built by Germany’s Volocopter, a manufacturer of autonomous air vehicles. It is powered by clean electricity and makes very little noise while in operation. The company claims it is an environmentally-friendly vehicle.
The current prototype version has a maximum flight time of approximately 30 minutes at a cruising speed of 50 km/h, and can reach a maximum airspeed of 100 km/h.
The AAT measures about two meters in height, and the diameter of the rotor rim, including propellers, is just over seven meters.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, who attended the maiden concept flight on Monday at a location near the Jumeirah Beach Park, specifically noted that the flight of the AAT vehicle comes "after the remarkable success of the first driverless metro in the region."
The unmanned taxi is set to be integrated into Dubai’s public transport systems such as the Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, public buses, marine transit modes and taxis.
"Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contributes not only to the country’s development but also builds bridges into the future,” Sheikh Hamdan said.
No clear date has yet been given for when the public will be able to take to Dubai’s skies on board this rather special taxi.