Are you an early adopter of new technologies? If that’s a yes, visiting Dubai this summer could see you take off in one of Ehang’s flying cars. On Monday the cities Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that it’s testing a passenger-carrying drone.This Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV) is capable of carrying a single person and could be fully operational by July 2017.

Ehang flying cars
Screenshot: Youtube/Roads and Transport Authority

Flying Cars Directive

Mattar al-Tayer head of Dubai’s Roads & Transportation Agency announced the controversial plans at the World Government Summit. He said:

“The future is now in the making. Our talk about autonomous vehicles has become a reality. It is now high time to move to autonomous aerial vehicles.” “The trial run of the AAV is an implementation of directives from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. With an aim to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world.”

Ehang 184

The tested vehicle named the Ehang 184 is made in China and first appeared at 2016’s CES in Las Vegas. This all-electric one person transportation system measures 3.9m long, 4.02m wide and 1.60m tall and can carry up to 100kgs. Fully loaded its maximum flight weight is 360kgs and it can cruise for 30 minutes at a speed of 160kph.

Dubia Taxi Service

As for how you, the passenger may interact with these flying cars, no ignition key is needed. Instead, as a passenger, you would simply use an onboard touchscreen to enter your destination. Only once correctly seated and all safety advice shared will the vehicle take off. At which point the Ehang 184 would ascend to its maximum altitude of 3000ft and transport you to your destination.

The RTA partnered with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority for the tests and issued the needed permits. Concerning communications and flight monitoring, this was conducted using a 4G network and monitored by a control center.

Future Aspirations

Along with Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s plans, this UAE city will become a hub. One that will see it make use of many futuristic concepts such as Elon Musk’s HyperLoop. However, Al Tayer has also suggested that Dubai will benefit from all public transport modes. These modes will be driverless Metro, trains, buses, marine, and taxis, as well as private vehicles.

Flying Cars, the Future?

The question on the lips of many right now is probably, “Will flying cars become a reality?” Our answer to that is, we hope so! However, progress in transportation has been moving at a snail’s pace for many years. With our over subscription to fossil fuels being one of the reasons for that.

Fortunately, now that electric battery technologies have caught up with energy requirements. It’s quite likely that we are at the early stages of a transport revolution. Meaning companies like Ehang, Google, Airbus, and Uber who are rumored to be developing flying cars could change the world!