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Transportation Technology

Dubai Starts Tests in Bid To Become First City With Flying Taxis (reuters.com) 63

Dubai staged a test flight on Monday for what it said would soon be the world's first drone taxi service under an ambitious plan by the United Arab Emirates city to lead the Arab world in innovation. From a report: The flying taxi developed by German drone firm Volocopter resembles a small, two-seater helicopter cabin topped by a wide hoop studded with 18 propellers. It was unmanned for its maiden test run in a ceremony arranged for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. Meant to fly without remote control guidance and with a maximum flight duration of 30 minutes, it comes with plenty of fail-safes in case of trouble: back-up batteries, rotors and, for a worst case scenario, a couple of parachutes.
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Dubai Starts Tests in Bid To Become First City With Flying Taxis

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  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Monday September 25, 2017 @09:32PM (#55263343)

    Sure, it's something to think about because if we don't start down that road of development now we won't be ready when the technology actually supports it. But right now and for the near future, the technology DOES NOT support it.

    Stories like this that imply WE'LL HAVE FLYING CARS IN FIVE YEARS are just stupid and a waste of time to read.

    Though I don't doubt that the rich fuckers in Dubai may be the first to be able to afford it...

    • So given the choice between autonomous taxis and flying taxis, I am guessing you are going with cars. I'm thinking flying taxis. It fixes the primary problem (at least in the US) which is the government failing to build new roads.

      • I'm going with: 'Start business building bunker like, flying taxi proof, houses for richers.'

        Of course we'll have the 'crete delivered in flying autonomous trucks. That's just obvious. Forgone conclusion.

      • How about autonomous flying taxis?

    • One way to look at it is that the rich... um, people in Dubai are ironing out the bugs in the technology for us.

    • by crunchygranola ( 1954152 ) on Monday September 25, 2017 @11:09PM (#55263747)

      The technology is apparently here to support this vehicle.

      Which costs $350,000 and can carry 160 kg a maximum distance of 27 km at 50 km/h (that is 350 lb, 17 miles, and 42 MPH to those using pre-1795 measuring systems) and takes 2 hours to fully charge.

      With a charge time:flight time ratio of 2:1 you could get in 8 hours of flight a day, around the clock, or about 400 km total travel distance. If used as a short range shuttle over a congested city center you might get in up to forty 10 km trips a day, maybe ~10,000 in a year. Looks like this could be a profitable service with a not-astronomical fare price.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        First crash it's done forever, lawsuits will bankrupt the company, and it will set flying taxis back by 50 years. Blade Runner I will never happen. Fuck these morons for trying to move too quickly.
        • First crash it's done forever, lawsuits will bankrupt the company

          People said the same about Tesla Autopilot. Then it killed a few people. The world continued to turn, and Tesla owners continue to use Autopilot. People are tolerant of a few deaths if they can see that the overall system is generally safe.

          Nobody expects perfect safety from a flying taxi. If it is as safe as a normal taxi, then that is good enough.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            The difference is that Tesla is a cult; people are willing to forgive pretty much anything and actually buy those DRM cars.

        • First crash it's done forever, lawsuits will bankrupt the company, and it will set flying taxis back by 50 years. Blade Runner I will never happen. Fuck these morons for trying to move too quickly.

          These don't crash so easily. They have multiple redundancy in the rotor array, the craft itself is self-flying - the "pilot" just guides it where to go, and it does have that aircraft safety parachute if everything fails to bring the craft to the ground in a not-catastrophic manner.

      • The technology is apparently here to support this vehicle.

        Which costs $350,000 ...

        Which is a disposable change for royal family of Dubai. In other words, they don't care for the cost. What they may care is that they get a new toy that most (if not all) people in the world don't have/get (yet).

  • There is however an (optional) full aircraft parachute that brings the entire vehicle to the ground. This is called a "ballistic total separation system". I am puzzled though about what gets "separated" here. Ejecting any part of the vehicle is going to be a problem for people on the ground.

  • It's hardly the first city with flying taxis. You can book helicopter flights in NYC now, for example. They're just pricey.

  • I wonder if half the population will be prohibited from flying them.

  • Have you been to Monacco? They have Helicopters for taxis. There are several companies that specializing in flying.
  • First get autonomous cars and flying cars sorted as separate entities before you try and combine the two.
    • It might be counter intuitive, but an autonomous flying vehicle is much simpler than an autonomous ground vehicle.

      You simply design an invisible grid of flight pathes, with apropriated flight hights, depending on direction. E.g. west to east in flit hight 300 - 500 feet, north to south 600 - 900 feet.

      You likely only will have fixed landing sites, so you need an angle for approching flights and another for departing flights, and you easily have an intersection free greed of light paths.

      • It might be counter intuitive, but an autonomous flying vehicle is much simpler than an autonomous ground vehicle.

        You simply design an invisible grid of flight pathes, with apropriated flight hights, depending on direction. E.g. west to east in flit hight 300 - 500 feet, north to south 600 - 900 feet.

        You likely only will have fixed landing sites, so you need an angle for approching flights and another for departing flights, and you easily have an intersection free greed of light paths.

        Hmmm. you think having multiple directions of travel at different heights, that all will need traversing is a simpler system than having the all in the same direction road ways we have? Ok, there's a lot more space so it will be less congested but I wouldn't agree a flying car is simpler than a road one for two key reasons. 1) the amount of directions a thing can come from and 2) the post crash scenario.

        • Hmmm. you think having multiple directions of travel at different heights, that all will need traversing is a simpler system than having the all in the same direction road ways we have?
          Yes it is.
          Air traffic already works that way.

          1) the amount of directions a thing can come from
          It cant. It can onyl come from one direction. Seems you did not grasp my explanation about "flight paths".

          2) the post crash scenario.
          Yeah, the flying car will likely land (with a parachute) on a road with ordinary cars :D

          • Hmmm. you think having multiple directions of travel at different heights, that all will need traversing is a simpler system than having the all in the same direction road ways we have? Yes it is. Air traffic already works that way.

            Yes. and they have at least 2-3 miles of separation per vehicle which travel in narrow paths in a few set directions. They also separate by height on the same directions. Contrast to the flying cars which could be going literally any direction. I assume your height things are 100m-200m for 0-5degress 200-300m for 5-10 degrees etc, leading on to

            1) the amount of directions a thing can come from It cant. It can onyl come from one direction. Seems you did not grasp my explanation about "flight paths".

            And how do you propose these vehicles navigate between different height levels? What if someone wants to change destination and turn around, surely they'll need a new

            • What if someone wants to change destination and turn around,
              Then they fly to the next corridor, where you can change destination.

              Even if you limit it to N,E,S,W over a city thats 4 layers of traffic coming up and down over any potential destination.
              No, they use dedicated decent paths on every landing point.
              E.g. you can only decent coming from around 0 degrees and your ascent has to go towards 180 degrees.

              As I said before: ordinary air traffic is already more or less organized like that.

              Especially over a ci

  • FTFA :-

    to lead the Arab world in innovation. ...... The flying taxi developed by German drone firm Volocopter .....

    I'm afraid they lost me there.

  • Wow! i hope this really happens. I'm very lucky to be living in this era. https://drugabusecontrol.com/ [drugabusecontrol.com]

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

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