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Aerospace

Video: Would You Travel in a Drone Taxi?

14 February 2017

With all the talk of autonomous vehicles being driven on roads throughout the world, the largest and most technological city in the United Arab Emirates is looking to the skies for the future of travel.

The Roads and Transportation Agency of Dubai is testing a single-passenger autonomous drone as a taxi service as part of a long-term plan to reduce traffic congestion.

The city is looking to roll out a complete taxi service using these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by July in order to help Dubai get closer to its goal of 25% transportation to be self-driving by 2030. This will additionally be used as a way to reduce traffic congestion in and around the city.

The EHang 184 passenger drone is being tested in Dubai as a possible taxi service in the city for deployment in July. Source: EHang The EHang 184 passenger drone is being tested in Dubai as a possible taxi service in the city for deployment in July. Source: EHang The passenger drone is being manufactured by Chinese aerospace company EHang which will be a quadcopter with two propellers attached to each of the four legs of the device. Passengers choose a preset destination on a touchscreen inside the drone and it travels to the location automatically. It travels up to 60 miles per hour at an altitude of 1,000 feet with most trips throughout Dubai lasting about 30 minutes.

The drone can carry just one passenger weighting up to 220 pounds with one suitcase and has a range of about 31 miles. The drone is monitored and routed to different locations throughout Dubai by officials at a control center.

To contact the author of this article, email Peter.Brown@ieeeglobalspec.com


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Discussion – 2 comments

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Re: Video: Would You Travel in a Drone Taxi?
#1
2017-Mar-03 5:11 PM

No way!

As an airplane and helicopter pilot, I would never fly in one of those.

If the engine quits, airplanes can glide, helicopters can autorotate.

In a drone, you are crushed meat (no wings to glide, no large, adjustable-angle rotor blades to autorotate).

Even a full airframe parachute won't save you at low altitudes.

Re: Video: Would You Travel in a Drone Taxi?
#2
2017-Mar-04 5:34 AM

Actually, just as the four rotor blades can lift you so they can retard your descent.

With a single bladed helicopter, auto rotation can result in the whole airframe rotating violently in the direction opposite to the blade if the tail rotor is defective for some reason. With four blades it is possible to actually control the pitch of the aircraft so that landing takes place in a level, albeit, abrupt fashion.

In the military, when training for combat static line parachuting, you have to jump from a 30 foot tower with a rope attached to what seems to be a tiny propeller. When this rotates, the energy it consumes is sufficient to prevent serious injury to the user when he/she hits the ground at the bottom of the descent.

So, too, these four rotors would be sufficient to prevent serious injury when descending and auto-rotating.

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