Autonomous Vehicles

Look Up! Flying Drone Taxis Are Coming Sooner Than You Think

Remember the opening sequence from The Jetsons? George Jetson is steering a bubbly hovercraft that zips around Earth's atmosphere to drop off his family members at their desired destinations. If we said there are crafts like that one being tested right now, we'd be lying. After all, the flying drone taxis aiming to hit the sky in July of 2017 don't need a driver. Sorry, George.

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It's A Bird! It's A Plane! No, It's A Drone Taxi!

Hovercrafts have been on the minds of futurists for decades. And as drones become a normal addition to our overhead space, personal modes of flying transport inch closer to reality. Well, that day of Jetsons-like travel may have just arrived. Remotely operated flying drone taxis are set to make their debut in Dubai by summer of 2017, according to TechCrunch.

Related: The World's First Self-Driving Truck Delivery Was Beer

Though companies like Uber and Airbus have talked about launching drones that carry cargo before they carry actual living, breathing passengers, Dubai's Roads & Transportation Agency plans to skip right to ferrying humans. Starting in July 2017, the agency will begin its passenger service by carrying people through the air in their small drones along predetermined routes.

Related: Autonomous Vehicles Wouldn't Just Change Driving, They'd Also Revolutionize Parking

Say Hello To Ehang 184

Meet your chauffeur, the Ehang 184. According to TechCrunch, this 500-lb drone "can carry one passenger with a max weight of 220 pounds, for a distance of 31 miles on one charge and at a top speed of 100 mph." Not bad for quickly jetting through the crowded urban cityscape of Dubai. But the agency is thinking about more than just helping commuters escape rush hour. As Mashable reports, in May 2016, "the company announce that it had partnered with Lung Biotechnology to ferry donated organs between hospitals. The company may buy as many as 1,000 specially designed Ehang 184 drones."

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Written by Curiosity Staff February 23, 2017

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