Are Drones the New Taxis?

by Ally S. '20
Marlborough Matter(s) is a science newsletter distributed to the Marlborough community detailing the most important science news happening in our world and highlighting the on-campus STEM happenings.

Developers in Dubai, with help from advanced technology companies (such as Hyperloop One), have recently debuted the EHang 184—a flying drone that they hope will alleviate some of the traffic congestion in the city. This drone will act much like a taxi…except that it will float above the traffic on the ground and fly people to their destination.

EHang 184 has already had a "test-soar" above the Burj al-Arab hotel in Dubai, and it plans to begin transporting people regularly in July.  

These drones can carry up to 220 pounds, with enough room for any passengers to bring along a small briefcase. The drones’ interiors are very high end, with a seat that looks like it belongs in a racecar. The pod can travel up to speeds of 100 mph, but it will be monitored by a control room on the ground. It is very easy to use--the passenger just selects his or her destination on the screen at the front of the vehicle, and the drone takes them there automatically.

Last May, authorities in Nevada announced a partnership with EHang, in hopes that the United States would eventually be able to introduce drones into daily life. Dubai and Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One recently made a deal to study the potential for building a hyperloop line that can transport people from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi. Drones could easily replace all forms of transportation and become the new vehicle of the 21st century. 

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