Electric Air Taxi to Debut in Dubai

March 6, 2017

Not just significant as an aviation story – pushing the envelope on no-carbon transport, batteries and electric drives.


An autonomous drone that can transport humans will start ferrying passengers around Dubai this summer.

The head of Dubai’s transportation agency said that self-flying taxis would start taking people across the city starting from July.

The city will use the Ehang 184 for the airborne service. The Ehang is a drone that can fly without human direction and carry a single passenger and their bag. It can take one person on a journey up to 23 minutes long.

“This is not only a model, we have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai’s skies,” said Mattar al-Tayer, head of Dubai’s transportation agency.

Dubai isn’t the first city to show an interest in using the Ehang, first unveiled at CES in 2016, as part of its transport system. Las Vegas announced last summer that it would start trialing the drones for public use.

The Ehang is electric-powered and can travel for about 31 miles with a person and bag that weigh up to 100kg. It can go at speeds of up to 63 miles an hour and takes two hours to charge fully.

To call for a flying taxi all passengers will need to do is enter their destination into an app. The drone then maps the route and transports the passenger to their destination. It can’t fly directly but has to hop from one set landing spot to another.

Its propellers fold inwards as it lands so it can fit in a single car parking space.

Designed to be secure, the autonomous vehicle has a “fail safe” system, according to the company, that prompts it to land in the nearest place if anything malfunctions or disconnects. It also communicates via encrypted channels.

UPDATE: Night shots toward the end of this vid are positively Blade Runnerish:



21 Responses to “Electric Air Taxi to Debut in Dubai”

  1. […] via Electric Air Taxi to Debut in Dubai | Climate Denial Crock of the Week […]

  2. Tom Bates Says:

    Do you folks live in Bizarro world? The range with one passenger is 23 minutes, if two passengers a lot less. Than you need to recharge the taxi for more than an hour for another 23 minute one way flight. Since most people would not have a charger handy the actual flight time of this piece of junk is no more than say 10 minutes out and 10 minutes back unless you do not mind it falling from the sky if the battery or load used up that 3 minutes of safety time. So how far can it fly in 10 minutes, assuming desert and no buildings say 10 miles. It is more than 10 miles from my house to downtown.

    Dubai is a rich tiny country with a tiny population of citizens run by a sunni thug whose ancestor shot their way into power. They work with the clerics to make sure they stay in power. When the shiite complain they get thrown in jail. When the foreigners complain they get thrown in jail. The clerics send money and arms to the ISIS. To haul the actual garbage and do the cooking etc. they hire foreigners from various places and pay them squat except for the few westerners who keep the facade running.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Tommy-Poo’s brain may be made of Swiss cheese, and his math is abominable, but his heart is in the right place on this one.

      I smiled when I read the piece, and burst out laughing when I went back and looked at the opener—-“Not just significant as an aviation story – pushing the envelope on no-carbon transport, batteries and electric drives”. Yeah, “pushing the envelope” full of money towards the scammers—-just like Musk and Now Bezos pushing Mars colonization and freaking TOURIST flights around the moon! (To say nothing of Solar Roadway and Clean Energy Tower). When the SHTF, the Doooobuyans will be walking in their sandals or riding their camels and donkeys again.

      And sorry for this, but I’ve gotten an earworm and need to excise it. This kept running through my head after seeing the specs for the Ehang flying coffin.

      There once was a young man from Boston,
      Who rode around town in an Austin,
      There was room for his ass,
      And a gallon of gas,
      But his balls hung out and he lost ’em.


      There once was a sheikh from Dooobay
      Who had much money and wanted to play,
      So he climbed in a drone and took off fast,

      …..and nobody has seen him since!!!!

      • jpcowdrey Says:

        One of the few social benefits of having filthy rich people is they can blow money as early adopters of new technologies not ready for the masses.

      • lesliegraham1 Says:

        Don’t you ever get tired of being proved wrong regarding innovations.

        Semi-autonomous drones are another no-brainer on the lines of grid scale solar power.

        The Federal Aviation Administration expects some 600,000 drones to be used commercially within a year and that’s just the start. It is just a matter of scaling them up for use as local taxis. Of course they are still virtually prototypes so of course it will be a while before they are mainstream – same as with petrol powered cars in the early 1900’s

        Your sneering just makes you sound like a backward looking Luddite and fool.


        • dumboldguy Says:

          Here’s Leslie, once again showing us that he’s the fool by screaming “LUDDITE” and making pronouncements to us about what’s a “no brainer”. Of course, he has shown us before that he is a bright-sider and wishful thinker that has never seen a scam artist’s clever idea that he didn’t love, so we shouldn’t be surprised.

          He AGAIN conflates this drone stupidity with “petrol-powered cars in the early 1900’s”, as if there were really any comparison.

          (And, pray tell, please tell us what innovations I’ve been “proved wrong” on? Solar Roadway? Atomic powered airplanes?)

      • funslinger62 Says:

        People said the same thing about mobile phones when the first prototypes appeared in the ’70s. They required batteries so large that they had to be carried in a backpack with a three-feet antenna sticking up out of the backpack. Now look at them! Smaller than a ’70s handheld calculator and thousands of times more powerful than the best computers of the ’70s. When will people learn?

        It’s fine to have a healthy skepticism, but you are approaching cynicism. And that isn’t good science.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          And here’s funsl, mindlessly backing leslie up with some foolishness about how cell phones are smaller today. WOW! When will people like him ever learn that good science requires rational analysis of facts, and in this present world, that does indeed lead to a rather high degree of cynicism for those who think rationally.

          When will people like him ever learn that many of these so-called advances in technology like the EHANG drone are not needed and contribute to the planet’s problems rather than help solve them?

          funsl’s comment does not show good thinking or good science.

    • redskylite Says:

      Thomas, Your Geography is just as poor as your Climate Science knowledge.

      “Dubai is a rich tiny country with a tiny population of citizens run by a sunni thug whose ancestor shot their way into power. They work with the clerics to make sure they stay in power. “

      That is absolute nonsense – Dubai is not a country, it is part of a country called the United Arab Emirates. It is one of seven emirates, who selected elders of each emirate elect the leader of the U.A.E and the leader of Dubai is not the leader of the U.A.E. The ruler of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktou was educated in the U.K, ending up in the military and passing out with the sword of honour as the top Commonwealth student.

      Even if you do not think the electric powered pasenger drone is not an evolution of transport, there is no need to spurt out nonsense and lies about another area of the world. You really need to read and travel more.

      I just hope no Emerati reads your insulting, hate filled and racist nonsense.

      • redskylite Says:

        oops – apologies for the double negative and incomplete name of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum rule of the Emirate of Dubai

  3. Gingerbaker Says:

    It’s of historic interest, guys – the first commercial electric flight service. Nobody is asking you to fly in the original Wright Brothers contraption when you fly to your Disney World vacation.

    “Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.”

    • lesliegraham1 Says:

      Quite. You seem the same thoughtless knee-jerk reaction from the same brainless Luddites every time someone develops a new prototype of just about anything.
      “It’s too expensive”
      “It won’t work”
      “Change scares me”
      “It will frighten the horses”
      “It’s only a rich man’s toy”
      And so on and so on.

      They said the same thing about Stevenson’s Rocket, Mercedes Benz first car and the Wright Brother’s ridiculous contraption.
      You think they might learn from history but no.

      “Those who say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those who are already doing it”.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        leslie and his acolyte funsl appear once again leslie of course inserts more moronic BS with “Change scares me”, and “It will frighten the horses”. Ha-Ha!

        He says some things that approach truths with:
        “It’s too expensive”
        “It won’t work”
        “It’s only a rich man’s toy”

        But leslie is too lazy to examine the “And so on and so on’s” that lead anyone with a brain to understand that “Stevenson’s Rocket, Mercedes Benz first car and the Wright Brother’s ridiculous contraption” are really NOT in any way analogous to the Ehang drone. He does not understand history or science—-you’d think he might study more of both before he runs his mouth (and some economics and politics as well).

    • funslinger62 Says:

      Ahhh, a reference to the movie Contact. I love that movie!

  4. vierotchka Says:

    How many Dubai citizens weigh less than 100 kilos? Not many, basing myself on the, eh, hundreds of well-fed tourists from Dubai I see every summer who flock to Geneva.

    • lesliegraham1 Says:

      I’ve got a great idea. How about they make some that can carry 200 kilos.
      Bet you never thought of that.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        I’ll bet leslie never thought that increasing capacity to 200 kilos perhaps means bigger rotors, a bigger fuselage, bigger batteries, and higher ticket prices to ensure adequate ROI, which may lead to lower ridership and failure of the whole enterprise? leslie is just FULL of “great ideas” (and other things)

    • redskylite Says:

      Dubai is in Asia where the average adult weight is 57.7 kg, having lived in the region for much of my working life I can concur most of the locals tend to be lighter rather than heavier, of course with a few exceptions (they are not all overweight Sheikhs). Hope the table below is displayed O.K with WordPress’s word processor…

      Region Adult population
      (millions) Average weight

      Africa 535 60.7 kg
      Asia 2,815 57.7 kg
      Europe 606 70.8 kg
      Latin America/Caribbean 386 67.9 kg
      North America 263 80.7 kg
      Oceania 24 74.1 kg
      World 4,630 62.0 kg

  5. Sean McCorkle Says:

    As far as I know, there is little design or manufacturing capability there at all.

    China deserves full credit for the Ehang:

  6. ocalicreek Says:

    IF somebody will invent a fully functional stillsuit, I’ll happily take a flight out into the desert in their new electric ornithopter. Long Live the Fighters!

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