Dubai is a city that will likely leave your jaw dropped after every new announcement. Following the World Government Summit, there has been much discussion about the future of transportation and how it could transform our daily commute. From self driving taxis to passenger drones, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has plans to fully roll out these automated options – full scale by this summer. Trial runs are currently underway and it is only a matter of time before citizens see these awesome AAVs (autonomous aerial vehicle) cruising along the skyline.

In collaboration with the makers of the Ehang184 drone, the city will use this new technology which can fly without human direction and carry a single passenger on a journey up to 23 minutes long, up to 160km/h at a maximum height of 3000 feet. The vehicle will be fitted with a touchscreen that displays a map of all destinations and will also have preset routes that can be selected by the rider. The vehicle will then start automatically, take off and cruise to the set destination before descending and landing in a specific spot. The entire operation will be monitored by the ground control center and in an effort to maximize safety, the vehicle will be fitted with 8 propellers which can still smoothly complete the flight, should one of them fail. It is designed to operate under all climatic conditions apart from thunderstorms.

The vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is  transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world. This evolution of the transportation landscape is in line with Dubai’s strategy to facilitate a quarter of all journeys within the Emirate through autonomous vehicles by 2030. In fact, Elon Musk, CEO of electric-car manufacturer Tesla and founder of SpaceX, estimated a far more rapid evolution of driverless cars, suggesting that all cars will have the capability within a decade.

“My guess is in 10 years, it will be very unusual for cars to be not fully autonomous,” he said. “Almost all cars will be capable of full autonomy in about 10 years. Tesla cars that are made today have the sensor system for full autonomy, it is mostly just a question of upgrading the software.”


Apart from passenger drones, Dubai is also buying 200 Tesla vehicles, Model S Sedans and Model X SUVs, and it looks to become a leader in the self-driving-car space. The Tesla vehicles will come equipped with the company’s second-generation hardware suite that improves Tesla’s autopilot capabilities. The hardware will allow the cars to achieve full autonomy, pending further software approval, and will also come equipped with an augmented reality map that allows passengers to select destinations. Tesla CEO inked the deal with the Roads and Transport Authority at the World Government Summit in Dubai, which also marks its first foray into the Middle East.


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