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The Future of Taxi Industry: Dubai Will Use Drones

February 21, 2017 – The EHang 184 drone can carry one person and will be available from July, according to an announcement by the head of Dubai's Roads and Transportation Agency. The drone is manufactured by the Chinese company EHang and has already performed test flights around the iconic Burj Al Arab, the emblematic skyscraper of Dubai. Passengers’ safety has been one of the key concerns around this news. “Clearly such a move requires a safety case, as in the whole aviation industry, and extensive testing. In addition, it would have to include the potential of the system falling and causing loss of life, injury or damage to property,” explains Scott Clark, Aerospace & Defense Consulting Vice President. ‘’Though the unmanned flight is an interesting and novel concept, public sentiment at this stage is still questionable,’’ he adds. Aerospace & Defense Industry Analyst Michael Blades explains: “The reason why the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States (US) has taken several years to implement regulations, even for operation of small drones is to guarantee safety.” The Chinese company boasts that the 184 model has redundancy in its propulsion systems and a fail-safe that causes the aircraft to land at the safest suitable location. It also utilizes obstacle avoidance systems and automated communications with air traffic control. ”All of these systems need to be tested, and tested a lot,” continues Blades. Aircraft that carry passengers are required to have proof of airworthiness, which needs a modicum of testing and investment. “In the case of the EHang 184, the redundancies, communications, lost link procedures, obstacle avoidance systems, and 4G wireless connectivity would all need to be tested in a litany of scenarios,” notes Blades.

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