Dubai has had their first test-flights with the drone, called the Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT). The city claims that the vehicle will be the world’s first “self-flying taxi service.” The AAT was supplied by the German manufacturer Volocopter and offers an environmentally friendly, fully electric ‘cab flight’. The prototype has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes at a cruising speed of 31 mph. Its maximum speed is 62mph.

It’s a helicopter. It’s a drone. No, it’s a Volocopter.

During the test, the drone taxi was unmanned and hovered about 200 meters off the ground with the city in the background, according to Reuters. The Volocopter has optional parachutes that would deploy in case of an emergency. To further increase the aircraft’s safety it also features a backup battery system. Currently, it takes two hours to fully charge each battery but that time will be dramatically reduced in the final production version of the flying drone taxi, claims the Government of Dubai

There also plans to make the AAT available to the public through a smartphone app a la Uber. People could then book and track flights as needed. Over the next five years Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) will work with the aviation authorities to develop the policy and laws for ATT and its services, the Government of Dubai says. Test flights will take place during this time and the Amercian company JDA Aviation will oversee the preparations and safety for AAT’s flights.

Dubai has set a very ambitious target for autonomous transport to account for a quarter of all trips by 2030. In a statement, Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said:

“Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contribute not only to the country’s development but also build bridges into the future.”

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