His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, has approved models of aerial taxi vertiports developed by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
The aerial taxi operations project aims to roll out a new mobility service driven by pioneering technology to ease the mobility of individuals across urban areas in a safe, smooth and sustainable manner integrated with the public transport network in Dubai. The service is set to be operational by 2026.
“The initial phase encompasses choosing both manufacturers and operators based on their technology and timeline, as well as determining the sites for vertiport installations. The initial network of vertiports will connect four main areas of Dubai: Downtown Dubai (Burj Khalifa area), Dubai Marina, Dubai International Airport and Palm Jumeirah,” said Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA.
“Vertiports embody a revolutionary form of infrastructure that encompasses a range of facilities such as designated take-off and landing zones, a passenger waiting area, security protocols, and electric charging stations. These stations seamlessly integrate with other modes of transportation. The next step involves identifying exceptional investors who are experts in building the necessary infrastructure for the air mobility industry,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed approved the prototype design of the first aerial taxi vertiport to be located near the Dubai International Airport, which will be seamlessly integrated with various modes of mass transportation. The vertiport comprises a structure that features two levels for car parking. The topmost roof serves as the terminal for aerial taxis, which will be connected to the Emirates Metro Station via an air-conditioned bridge.
The vertiport boasts a contemporary design that complements the general appearance and charm of Dubai. A distinct and enjoyable mode of transportation will be offered to users, featuring air-conditioned facilities that have been crafted to meet top international safety standards for maximum convenience. The vertiport comprises four stands for aerial taxis and two landing areas, optimising its operational efficiency and maximising the utilisation of the station.
“The aerial taxi operation consists of two main stages; selecting the suitable technologies that meet global standards and forming a partnership with a specialist provider. To ensure the best outcome, companies are evaluated in terms of the technologies utilised in this cutting-edge form of sustainable transportation, as well as the comprehensive plan for its adoption and implementation,” he further added.
“The operation comprises four crucial elements. They include detailed negotiation with a multitude of companies active in this field, signing of commercial agreements, establishment of local entities to execute relevant business endeavours, development of the necessary infrastructure and the highly anticipated roll-out of the service.
“The second stage involves identifying a potential partner for investing in the infrastructure needed to introduce autonomous aerial taxis to Dubai's skies. At present, commercial negotiations are in progress with the most promising and specialised investors globally in the realm of air mobility to construct the requisite infrastructure.
“The launch of the service hinges upon the preparedness of the companies and the legislative requirements for operating aerial taxis. This also involves a thorough examination of all operational details and ensuring that all safety and security measures are in place,” Al Tayer explained.
“The RTA’s aerial taxi initiative aligns with the Dubai Self-Driving Transport Strategy, aimed at transforming 25 percent of total mobility journeys in Dubai into driverless journeys by 2030. The RTA is working closely with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, General Civil Aviation Authority and Dubai Air Navigation Services to create a one-of-a-kind comprehensive framework for the operation of such vehicles in Dubai. This includes the development of legislation and setting clear specifications and standards for vehicle operators. RTA, in collaboration with its strategic partners, outlines the flight paths for the vehicles, identifies take-off and landing sites, and specifies the necessary equipment for safe and efficient operations,” Al Tayer said, in conclusion.
Aerial taxis possess the unique capability of vertical takeoff and landing and are sustainable, eco-friendly vehicles powered by electricity, emitting zero harmful pollutants to the environment. The taxis are also recognised for their safety, comfort, and speed, featuring the latest technological advancements in the field from around the world. With a range of 241.4 kilometres and a top speed of 300 kilometres per hour, the aerial taxi can accommodate up to four passengers plus a driver.
RTA showcased its autonomous aerial taxi at the World Government Summit 2017. Also in the same year, the trial run was initiated for the first test flight of an air taxi capable of carrying two passengers. The purpose of this project is to develop the necessary commercial and technical abilities to offer this innovative service in the emirate.