Part and parcel to the booming economy of Dubai is traffic congestion. Between businesses and tourists, getting around the city during rush hour can be a true pain. Recently, the city’s transportation department released a statement about the newest taxi option, flying autonomous drone taxis built for one person and a small suitcase (briefcase). They have set an ambitious schedule of this year! If they hit the mark, they will be the first city in the world to offer unmanned aerial taxis.
The idea is sound, and there is no doubt that flying vehicles are definitely on the horizon. There are some potential pitfalls, however. First and foremost will be getting the first person to test the vehicle out! The number one concern initially will be technology. The aerial taxis will be controlled by ground control center wirelessly, of course, and the question becomes what happens if there is an interruption in communication? Experts say that in case of technological glitches, the aerial unit will land in the first safe free space available.
One other drawback to the unmanned taxis is limited range, each unit has a 30 minute window before it needs recharged. There is also some concern about the mechanics of the drone in the extreme desert heat of Dubai.
Dubai is determined to be on the cutting edge of technology and use it to the city’s utmost advantage. Along with unmanned vehicles, the city is in discussion to be the first location for the hyper-loop, currently being tested in the Nevada desert.
A hyper-loop is basically a tube through which a pressurized capsule can travel from point A to point B. If this concept is successful, it would mean people and goods could be transported at airliner speeds while never leaving the ground.
Creators of the hyper-loop concept have left it all open source, inviting bright and creative minds to join in the process of improving the world’s transportation options.
Will Dubai be first in the race when it comes to innovative transportation? It is hard to say, but there are several good indicators that they are at the top of the list.
How exciting is it that we can practically watch science fiction become technological non-fiction. Experts in the field say it is not if but when, especially as it pertains to unmanned or aerial vehicles. These two particular projects bear watching over the months to come.