Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai is planning to introduce Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) or self-flying taxi by the end of 2017. In September 2017, a two-seater AAT underwent a successful maiden concept flight. This is the first of its kind in the world. The effort echoes Dubai's Autonomous transportation Strategy that seeks to achieve 25 per cent of transportation in an autonomous way.
Over the next five years, RTA will collaborate with General Civil Aviation Authority and Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to put in place the operational requirements for implementing the AAT services. Requirements include developing laws and policies governing the certification of the aircraft and the AAT operations, defining aerial routes and corridors, designing and locating take-off and landing points, setting standards for official operators of the AAT services, identifying the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and specifying the security and safety standards for the AAT.
The aerial taxi has autopilot or autonomous flying capability thus enabling the movement of people without human intervention or a need for flight licence holder. The taxi will be integrated with public transport systems such as metro, tram, public buses, marine transit modes and taxis in Dubai.
The AAT measures about two metres in height and seven metres in width. It can cruise at a speed of 50 kmph with the maximum speed set at 100 kmph. The maximum flight time is approximately 30 minutes.
The AAT is electric-powered and runs on nine independent quick-charge and plug-in battery system which takes two hours to reach full charge in the prototype version. The duration will be significantly reduced in the final product.
It has a variety of unique features that include top security and safety standards and multiple substitutes in all critical components such as propellers, motors, power source, electronics and flight controls. It has 18 rotors to ensure safe cruising and landing of the taxi in case of any rotor failure and it is fitted with a full aircraft emergency parachute. It also boasts of luxurious interiors and leather seating.
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In April 2015, Dubai Government launched the Makani (my location) system. Makani is Dubai's smart addressing system. Under this system, each building would be assigned a unique 10-digit number that can be used to search the location through Google and HERE maps. In addition, in 2016, Dubai Government divided the emirate into 14 districts. Each district was given a name for identification.