Are you ready for the future of commuting? Well, brace yourself because the next big thing has finally arrived. In fact, the drone helicopter taxi has been unveiled in Las Vegas at the CES International event last January 2017 and in the United Arab Emirates during its World Government Summit.
Pilotless Drone Aerial Vehicle
The concept is simple, but if you look at it, you might have second thoughts as to whether you should embark on this piece of metal without anyone to send you off your destination. Basically, it is a pilotless vehicle with a top speed of 100mph good for one seating only. Sources say, it will be operational by July.
This product is from a Chinese manufacturer EHang 184. It allows the passenger to interact with a touch-screen monitor in order to choose a destination of up to 31 miles away. However, the trip will be supervised by a ground control team to ensure that the drone is performing as expected.
The said aerial vehicles will be operational in Dubai come July after the transport head of the city have confirmed experimentation with the vehicle to meet possible demands of its passengers. The small egg-shaped drone has a couple of small propellers on each leg as part of the design.
Personal Preference of the Designer
According to the designer, it was made out of personal preference. His idea came out when 2 of his friends were killed in a separate airplane crash incident. Thus, it resulted in designing a prototype that should be safe for aerial travel.
The Chinese company aims to make the controls, along with the overall experience as simple as possible. So, once the passenger sets up the flight plan with just a single click, he or she can now take off on any location, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Possible Safety Issues
However, despite the simplicity and safety features of the design, there are safety concerns that still raised some questions. This includes questions related to the flight controller if ever it would fail in mid-air. In fact, there are no joysticks or steering wheels that users might have to use whenever necessary.
In response, the company states that there are several multiple fail-safe procedures in place that could take over if failure occurs. So, when an accident is imminent, the flight control center is going to intervene if needed.
Future of Transportation
According to Uber head of product, instead of drones or helicopter-style rotors, they are looking for ways to design a shuttle that would send commuters to and from their destination. In fact, they are trying to research about some vertical landing and takeoff technology to follow their design.
The said plan might also change how people travel from one point to another. Moreover, the plan of moving traffic from land to air should cut down traffic congestion, including the time in crossing cities.
On the other hand, EHang is looking forward to materialize the plan of Dubai to unleash the flying drone taxis by July, after successful test flights in 2017.