Though the age of flying taxis may not be upon us as of now, self-driving taxis have started their run on the streets of Dubai. At the recent annual consumer electronics trade show Gitex, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) showcased the new self-driven taxi service.
The self-driven car service will run for the coming three months in some selected parts of Dubai, according to Transportation officials. The cars are intended to connect passengers during the ‘first and last mile’ to get from existing transportation systems to like Movie Theater, Malls or another venue.
According to the RTA, the cars can reach up to 20 mph and can also fit four passengers. In the front, the cars will have a safety driver, who can take over the controls in case an emergency arises. In promotional materials, the vehicles are depicted without the safety driver for genuinely driverless experience, pointing towards what the company could introduce later.
The self-driving cars are modified Mercedes-Benz sedans with cameras, LiDAR system, and sensors installed in the vehicle.
Though previously Dubai carried out a test on self-driving passenger drones for an air-based taxi service. That service is yet to take off for the general public. A release about the taxi service hailed the program for its significant contribution to “transforming Dubai into the smartest city in the world.”
Rumours about the Airbus and Audi collaboration, trying to build a city car/flying taxi concept. Uber is also in the works on a flying taxi hub in Paris. Then we have Kitty Hawk, a secret company founded by Google co-founder Larry Page, and it is working on a project called Cora, which is another flying taxi project.
But a new player is joining the race of self-driving cars, Rolls-Royce. Don’t be confused; I am not talking about the luxury car company that is well known. I am talking about the engine company that parted ways with the car company decades ago.
The engine company is planning to dip its hands into the flying vehicle waters and so far has drawn plans to build an electric vehicle that would be able to reach speeds up to 400 km/h (250 miles per hour). The company so far believes that the car could see the light of day as early as the next decade, a timeline that its competition has been targeting.