Self driving flying cars set for pilot

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By Jacktone Lawi

The emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that Dubai will receive the world’s first driverless flying cars.

The flying vehicle is a project between the RTA and the Chinese firm Ehang and is expected to take to the skies around July 2017.

The announcement was made at the World Government Summit in Dubai where Mattar al- Tayer, the head of Dubai’s transportation agency said that they had carried out actual tests of the flying vehicle across the Dubai skies.

The drone can fly without a human supervising it and will be part of the city’s transport system. The Ehang 184 carry’s one passenger at a time and can take up a luggage of 100kg maximum. It can go up to speeds of 31 miles per hour and is electric powered.

Passengers will hail the flying taxi using an app, enter a destination and the drone will route a map to the destination.

Mr Al Tayer said that the driverless flying cars replicated Dubai’s self-driving transport strategy that is aimed at transforming 25 per cent of total individual trips in the city to self-driving trips by 2030.

The vehicles are just the latest addition to the futuristic transport services that have been witnessed around the world in the last few years. The revelation comes a few months after self-driven cars were launched by Uber.

In September 2016, Uber- a global taxi giant – launched a self driving fleet of taxis in the US, making it the first automotive or technology company to achieve this. The taxis use cameras, lasers, radar and GPS to navigate from point to point and have continued to expand to various part of the world.

Travis Kalanic, CEO and Founder of Uber said that self-driving cars are predicted to start reducing traffic jams in as few as 5 years. He was speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai where the future of transportation was a major talk.

Evolution on the tracks has also been making breakthroughs. The maglev train in Shanghai is the world’s fastest commercial train. The hanghai maglev train operates on speeds of up to 430kph, floating on magnetic fields located between the rain and tracks.

The Shanghai Maglev or magnetic levitation train can go from 0 to 109kph in four minutes. In 2027, Japan will also put its maglev train to commercial use. The ‘bullet train’ which is currently in the prototype phase broke a world record in 2015 during a test by traveling to a speed of 603kph, covering 1.6km in 10 seconds.

Technology advancement has made evolution of the transport sector seem like science fiction. Changes in the transport sector will affect the way people get to work and ran errands. They will reduce road congestion and reduce fatal road accidents on roads.

The future will also see transportation systems creating critical mobility for the elderly and the disabled as well as enhancing transportation capacity.

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