Dubai tests pilotless drone taxi. Would you try it?

Dubai tests pilotless drone taxi. Would you try it?

Men look at the flying taxi in Dubai, United Arab Emirates September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Satish Kumar
Men look at the flying taxi in Dubai, United Arab Emirates September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Satish Kumar

Dubai staged a test flight on Monday for what it said would soon be the world's first drone taxi service.

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Dubai puts autonomous drone taxi in the skies

Reuters

DUBAI: Dubai staged a test flight on Monday for what it said would soon be the world's first drone taxi service under an ambitious plan by the United Arab Emirates city to lead the Arab world in innovation.

The flying taxi developed by German drone firm Volocopter resembles a small, two-seater helicopter cabin topped by a wide hoop studded with 18 propellers.

It was unmanned for its maiden test run in a ceremony arranged for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

Meant to fly without remote control guidance and with a maximum flight duration of 30 minutes, it comes with plenty of fail-safes in case of trouble: back-up batteries, rotors and, for a worst-case scenario, a couple of parachutes.

Volocopter is in a race with more than a dozen well-funded European and US firms, each with its own science fiction-inspired vision for creating a new form of urban transport that is a cross between a driverless electric car and a short-haul, vertical takeoff-and-landing aircraft.

"Implementation would see you using your smartphone, having an app, and ordering a Volocopter to the next voloport near you. The volocopter would come and autonomously pick you up and take you to your destination," chief executive officer Florian Reuter said.

"It already is capable of flying based on GPS tracks today, and we will implement full sense capability, also dealing with unknown obstacles on the way," he added, saying developers aimed to initiate the taxis within five years.

In Monday's test flight, the device hovered upward about 200 metres and whirred for about five minutes over a windswept patch of sand astride the emirate's Gulf coast.

Attired in crisp white robes and headdresses, Sheikh Hamdan and his entourage clapped approvingly from a nearby viewing deck as the craft alighted.

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Vocabulary

  • ambitious: difficult and needing a lot of effort to succeed - ความทะเยอทยาน
  • approvingly (adv): n a way that shows that you believe that somebody/something is good or acceptable - อย่างเห็นดีเห็นชอบ
  • astride: standing across; located in the middle of ..... -
  • attired (adj): dressed in a particular way -
  • autonomous (adj): independent; able to do things without outside help - ซึ่งอยู่ได้ด้วยตนเอง, ซึ่งพึ่งตนเองได้
  • back-up (adj): support, available for use in case of a failure - สำรอง, กองหนุน, การสนับสนุน
  • cabin: the area where passengers sit in an aircraft - ห้องคนโดยสารในเครื่องบิน
  • capability: the ability to do something - ความสามารถ
  • capable: able to do something; very good at a job - มีความสามารถ
  • ceremony (noun): a formal public event - งานพิธี
  • chief executive officer (CEO): the person with the highest rank in a company or an organisation - ผู้บริหารสูงสุด, ซีอีโอ (ประธานบริหาร)
  • clap: to hit your hands together again and again at exactly the same time to show enjoyment or appreciation -
  • coast: an area of land beside the sea - ชายฝั่ง
  • couple: two things or people - สอง, สองสิ่ง, คนสองคน
  • craft: a boat, ship or space vehicle - เรือ,ยาน
  • cross: a mixture of two different things - การผสมผสาน
  • Crown Prince: (in some countries) a prince who will become king when the present king or queen dies or leaves office - ทายาทของกษัตริย์ที่เป็นผู้ชาย
  • deck: a raised area without a roof, which is attached to a house - ดาดฟ้า
  • destination: the place where someone or something is going - จุดหมายปลายทาง
  • develop: to think of or produce a new idea, product, etc. and make it successful; to build new houses, factories, etc. on an area of land, especially land that was not being used effectively before - พัฒนา
  • device (noun): a machine or piece of equipment that does a particular job - อุปกรณ์ เครื่องมือ เครื่องจักร
  • drone (noun): an aircraft (or ship) without a pilot, controlled from the ground - เครื่องบินไร้คนขับที่ควบคุมด้วยวิทยุทางไกล
  • duration: the period of time during which something continues to happen or exist - ช่วงระยะเวลา, ความทนทาน
  • emirate (noun): an area of land that is ruled over by an emir, the title given to some Muslim rulers -
  • entourage: a group of people who travel with an important person - คณะผู้ติดตามของบุคคลสำคัญ
  • fail-safe (noun): (of machinery or equipment) designed to stop working or make corrections if anything goes wrong - อุปกรณ์ป้องกันภัย
  • firm: a business or company - บริษัท
  • guidance system: a device or group of devices used to navigate/control the path of a ship, aircraft, missile, rocket, satellite, or other craft -
  • headdress (noun): a covering worn on the head on special occasions - เครื่องประดับศีรษะ
  • hoop (noun): a large ring of plastic, wood or iron - ห่วง
  • hover: to stay in one place in the air - บินฉวัดเฉวียน,บินร่อน
  • implementation: the process of making something such as a plan, system, idea or law start to work and be used - การบังคับใช้ (กฎหมาย)
  • initiate: to make something start - ริเริ่ม
  • innovation: the introduction of new things, ideas or ways of doing something; a new idea, way of doing something, etc. that has been introduced or discovered - นวัตกรรม, การคิดขึ้นใหม่, สิ่งที่นำเข้ามาใหม่
  • inspire: to give someone the idea for a piece of work - ทำให้เกิด บันดาลใจให้
  • landing: an act of bringing an aircraft or a spacecraft down to the ground after a journey - การลงสู่พื้นดิน
  • maiden: being the first of its kind - ครั้งแรก
  • maximum: the most possible - ที่สูงสุด ที่มากที่สุด
  • obstacle: an object that you must move or go around in order to move forward - อุปสรรค, สิ่งกีดขวาง
  • parachute: a device that is attached to people or objects to make them fall slowly and safely when they are dropped from an aircraft. It consists of a large piece of thin cloth that opens out in the air to form an umbrella shape - ร่มชูชีพ
  • propeller: a device which causes a ship or aircraft to move, consisting of two or more blades which turn round at high speed - ใบพัด
  • remote control (noun): a device used for controlling a machine from a distance - เครื่องควบคุมเครื่องบินหรือจรวดด้วยคลื่นวิทยุ
  • resemble (verb): to be like or look like someone or something else - มีลักษณะคล้ายกับ
  • robe: a long loose outer piece of clothing - เสื้อคลุมยาว
  • rotor (noun): a part of a machine that turns around a central point - ใบพัดของเฮลิคอปเตอร์
  • science fiction: a type of book, film/movie, etc. that is based on imagined scientific discoveries of the future, and often deals with space travel and life on other planets - นวนิยายวิทยาศาสตร์
  • senses (noun): the five powers (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) that your body uses to get information about the world around you - ประสาทสัมผัสและการรับความรู้สึก
  • short-haul: short distance -
  • stage: to arrange - จัดตั้ง
  • studded (verb): having a lot of something on or in it - เต็มไปด้วย
  • takeoff (noun): when an airplane leaves the ground at the beginning of a flight going somewhere; departure - การร่อนขึ้นจากพื้นดิน, การบินขึ้น
  • transport: moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง
  • unmanned: (of a machine, a vehicle, a place or an activity) not having or needing a person to control or operate it - ซึ่งไม่มีคนคอยควบคุม
  • urban: connected with towns and cities - เขตเมือง
  • vertical: going straight up or down from a level surface or from top to bottom in a picture, etc. - ซึ่งตั้งตรง
  • vision: the ability to imagine how a country, society, industry, etc. could develop in the future and to plan in a suitable way - วิสัยทัศน์
  • well-funded (adj): having a lot of money to invest or use -
  • whirr: to make a continuous low sound like the parts of a machine moving - เกิดเสียงดังกระหึ่ม, เกิดเสียงดังหึ่งๆ
  • windswept (adj): (of a place) having strong winds and little protection from them -
  • worst-case scenario: a description of the worst possible situation that could result in the future - สถานการณ์ที่เลวร้ายที่สุด
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