The first successful flight of Dubai’s autonomous aviation taxi, and autonomous passenger service may be commercialized in 2020

Dubai announced the test flight of its first unmanned air taxi, which successfully completed a 5-minute flight in the air 200 meters above the ground.

This autonomous aviation taxi was designed by the German company Volocopter. It is similar to a two-seater helicopter with 18 propellers. It has a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour and a maximum flight time of 30 minutes. Autonomous aviation taxis are also equipped with spare batteries, propellers and two parachutes to prevent flight failure, and there is also a door for passengers to board and disembark.

The Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, witnessed the first flight of an autonomous aviation taxi. After the test flight, Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said that the company plans to launch passenger flight services within five years.

“You only need to place an order through the app on your smartphone, and a volocopter will pick you up and take you to your destination.” Reuter added, “At present, this autonomous aviation taxi can Flying on the GPS orbit, we will achieve complete perception and at the same time deal with unknown obstacles.”

Dubai officials announced in February that they plan to launch an unmanned aircraft by July 2017. Mattar Al Tayer, head of the Dubai Highways and Transportation Agency, said at the time that the EHang 184 UAV was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2016 and is currently undergoing test flights at Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

EHang 184 has a quadrotor design that can carry up to 100 kg, or a passenger with luggage. EHang 184 can fly on the platform at a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour for 23 minutes, or at a speed of 62 miles per hour at a higher altitude for 10 minutes.

EHang initially announced plans to work with Lung Biotechnology Company in an area of ​​50 kilometers long to use drones to transport organs.

In April last year, the Crown Prince of Dubai stated that it is expected that by 2030, a quarter of Dubai’s transportation will be completed by unmanned ehang drones. The UAE is already using unmanned Rail services transport millions of passengers every year.

The Middle East company Careem announced last month that it will also begin testing unmanned electric pod cars in Dubai. This project is part of a collaboration with California-based NEXT Future Transport.

Airbus manufacturer Airbus is also developing a passenger vehicle called “Vahana”. The company said in May that the company will realize the commercial possibility of passenger aircraft by 2020, but this depends mainly on whether the next generation of computing power can detect 4000*3000 pixel images from radar, lidar and cameras. And put them together to detect surrounding objects.

Airbus is expected to test the Vahana aircraft in 2017. It is designed to fly at 230km/h. Arne Stoschek, director of Airbus A3 automatic system, said that because Vahana has no braking function, it has to choose to avoid obstacles. “If there is an obstacle 500 meters ahead, if you don’t change the direction, you will be hit in 10 seconds. If the opponent is moving towards us at the same speed as us, then we may be hit in 5 seconds.” Stoschek explained, “So we need to make very precise and fast changes.”

He said that Airbus needs an order of magnitude increase in CPU performance, memory, power usage, software and hardware to handle the large amount of data involved, and that drone regulations must be completely reformed.

“We have a set of car rules. Basically, we can operate cars one after another in an orderly manner, so that many cars can be accommodated. But currently in the aerospace field, this situation is very different… The so-called separation distance needs to be considered, so it is possible that only one aircraft can be operated over the entire San Francisco. Obviously, in the aerospace field, we need a new rule system that allows us to achieve a large number of aircraft operating in the air at the same time.”

Håkan Eriksson, Telstra’s chief technology officer, suggested last week that we can treat drones as mobile devices for flying and allow network operators to provide a “drone control as a service” approach to solve regulatory difficulties.

Eriksson said: “What if we say that every drone is a flying mobile device? Insert a SIM card, they will have an identity; put in a radio, they can talk to people; if one If a drone wants to take off, it must talk to the rules in the database.”

The requirements for the number of drones flying, flight altitude, flight time, and flight distance in a specific area will be programmed into this database. Eriksson added that concerns about drone networks are also resolved through the use of mobile networks. Because the coverage only extends to about 1.5 meters above the ground.

“The maximum height of drone use is still 100 meters. If the drone can’t transport things, or there is no search function, then the drone is meaningless. If the drone is flying higher, it doesn’t make sense because The height of 100 meters is the range that humans can see, and it is also a range where mobile network coverage is very good, and there is no airplane.” Eriksson explained.

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