Taxi Drones Preparing To Take Off In Dubai

Image courtesy of Roads and Transport Authority

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a reference to Superman — no, it’s a drone, and instead of carrying a package or even a six-pack of beer, it’s ferrying humans through the skies over Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The head of Dubai’s Roads & Transportation Agency announced plans to have a passenger-carrying drone called the EHang regularly flying in the city, reports the Associated Press.

“This is not only a model,” Mattar al-Tayer said at the World Government Summit. “We have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai’s skies.”

The aircraft is capable of carrying a passenger weighing up to 220 pounds as well as a small suitcase. Once the passenger is strapped into the seat, they select their destination on a touch-screen and the drone flies there automatically.

Its battery allows for a half hour of flying time with a range of up to 31 miles, with a top speed of 100 mph. However, authorities say it will be operated around 62 mph usually, and monitored remotely from a control room on the ground.

Al-Tayer said the drone will begin regular operations in July, without providing additional details about how that process will work.

If this whole drone-taxi thing sounds familiar, that’s because authorities in Nevada announced last summer that they’d be working with EHang to test the craft and possibly have it approved to fly by the Federal Aviation Administration.