Passenger drone to begin regular flights from July

Posted February 16, 2017

"This is not only a model". As per an announcement made at the World Government Summit, passenger drones will start regular operations in the city from July.

The country already has a driverless rail service used by millions of passengers a year, and so the switch to autonomous cars and one day, drones, may not be too much of a stretch - especially as the United Arab Amirates has cash to burn.

The Personal Flying Vehicle (PFV) is almost the size of a small auto and can ferry a single person within a 10-mile radius. It can take one person on a journey up to 23 minutes long.

The Chinese-made EHang 184 has four legs sticking out, each with two small propellers.

The video shows a dapper businessman placing a briefcase in the craft's tiny trunk and strapping himself into the single seat with a race-car like seatbelt.

The PFV can fly vertically and is able to fly as high as11,000 feet. As far as drones go, it's actually much less drone and more automated helicopter, using onboard navigation systems to carry passengers to their desired location without the need for a pilot.

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The flight time of the drone has a limitation.

The EHang 184 can fly about 50 kilometers (31 miles) on a single charge, hitting top speeds of up to 160 kph (100 mph). The flight will be monitored with the help of 4G wireless Internet.

Experts, however, say safety remains a key concern as it is yet unclear how reliable passenger drones are.

Passenger Drone Coming To U.S.?

In May, authorities in Nevada announced they would partner with EHang to test the 184 to possibly be cleared by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

So flying taxis between Dubai's skyscrapers may not be so utopian, but the date of entry into service seems at best optimistic, at worst close to science fiction.