Dubai dreams of flying taxis darting among its skyscrapers

By on September 30, 2017


e-volo VC-1 prototype (Photo By Johnescalade - Own work, CC0)
e-volo VC-1 prototype (Photo By Johnescalade – Own work, CC0)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dubai is hoping to one day have flying, pilotless taxis darting among its skyscrapers.

Just this week, the city-state in the United Arab Emirates hosted crews from the German company Volocopter, which had an electric, battery-powered two-seat prototype take off and land.

Dubai hopes to have rules in place to govern such aircraft in the next five years.

The Volocopter’s designers envision the electric, battery-powered two-seat helicopters taking off and landing from pads set up across the city.

The prototype used in Dubai has a maximum flying time of 30 minutes at 50 kph (31 mph), with a maximum airspeed of 100 kph (62 mph). Batteries charged in climate-controlled areas near the pads would be swapped in as needed.