World's firsts from Dubai: Volocopter, the flying taxi & Hyperloop One

Published: Saturday, October 14, 2017

DUBAI: The futuristic global city of Dubai is about to introduce another world’s firsts—Volocopter, the German-made self-flying drone taxi that can fit in two passengers per trip and Hyperloop One, a crossbreed of plane and train with super high speed.

H.H.Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the tech-savvy Arab royalty with 5.7 million followers on Instagram who is also a licensed pilot, personally oversaw the successful September test launch of the Autonomous Air Taxi or AAT which will be introduced by Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) in the run up to World Expo 2020, which Dubai is hosting.

Sheikh Hamdan described the project as another testament of the UAE government’s commitment to explore new opportunities that will bring about positive changes.

“Encouraging innovation and adopting the latest technologies contribute not only to the country’s development but also help build bridges to the future,” noted Sheikh Hamdan who also spearheaded the launch of Dubai font, the first font named after a city created in both Arabic and English, in collaboration with Microsoft.

Powered by clean electricity with low noise levels, the AAT is an environment-friendly vehicle. Its current prototype version has a maximum flight time of approximately 30 minutes at a cruise speed of 50km/h, and a maximum airspeed of 100km/h.

The AAT is about two meters high, and the diameter of the rotor rim, including propellers, is just over seven meters.

Bookings to this new high-tech transpo will be made available through a smart mobility app.

Meanwhile, Hyperloop, the world’s first high-speed train that could bend distance and time using new magnetic technology to transport people and cargo had successfully passed its first full scale real-world test run.

The UAE government tapped the US-based start-up company Hyperloop One to build the project. Described as a cross between a train & a plane traveling at 375 KPH, it would cut to just 12 minutes the current 2 hours travel time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai when completed in 2020.

This new mode of transport would carry passengers via pods or capsules passing through tubes elevated magnetically.The first commercial operation is projected to happen on or before Expo 2020.