The Why & How of Dubai’s Drive to operate the World’s 1st Autonomous Aerial Urban Transport System

dubai autonomous aerial urban transport system
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World’s First Autonomous Aerial Urban Transport System

Transforming Dubai into the Smartest City Worldwide

mattar al tayer rtaMattar Al Tayer, RTA director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors, said: “The test run of the first AAT capable of carrying two passengers is in implementation of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city worldwide. It also comes as part of RTA’s efforts to provide autonomous transportation by conducting the required technological tests of those vehicles under the climatic conditions of Dubai.

dubai rts flying taxi Autonomous Aerial Urban Transport System

The Why

Faced in an exponentially expanding population the Government of Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority has implemented several transit initiatives to deal with moving the residents and the people who come to their community for work.

Dubai RTA’s inventory of modes of transportation for the citizens and visitors [3 million plus] within its confined space [497.1 sq. mi.]:

Dubai Bus

dubai bus
Dubai Taxi

dubai taxi
Dubai Metro

dubai metro map

Tram Dubai

dubai tram
Water Taxi

dubai water taxi

dubai Autonomous Aerial Urban Transport System

 

The How

It is evident that the RTA understands the traditional means of moving people, but its next challenge was Dubai’s Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy that seeks to transform a quarter of the total mobility journeys in Dubai into autonomous transport by 2030. The authority recognized that autonomous air vehicles was such new technology that it needed outside expertise to be the first to utilize drones in an urban environment and it asked JDA Aviation Technology Services to help.

Neither the US nor Europe had established criteria for the safe operation of these new vehicles; so, there was no existing template to use to assess possible aerial vehicles for the Dubai transit use. Here was the assignment laid out in three parts:

Candidate 1

JDA was contracted to support the RTA to complete a safety assessment of a specific candidate and to advise whether this platform would likely be able to complete successfully a flight demonstration in Dubai in July 2017. JDA associates traveled to the site of production and test facility to determine the path forward for the Flight Demonstration and subsequent Type and Production Certification programs. The judgment of the team was that this first vehicle would not be ready by the deadline.

Candidate 2

RTA asked JDA to complete a similar process with e-Volo and the Volocopter VC200.

evolo volocopter vc200 dubai rta jda aviation

JDA completed a preliminary two day on-site visit with RTA in Bruschal, Germany to assess and report findings and recommendations for completing a flight demonstration and subsequent Type and Production Certification program with the e-Volo VC200 Volocopter VC200. We also presented a comparison report between the first candidate and the e-Volo Volocopter VC200. Based on those analyses, RTA chose the e-Volo VC200 for their Flight Demonstration program.

Segment 3

dubai civil aviation authority caa

JDA completed a two day on-site visit with RTA in Bruschal, Germany to assess and report findings and recommendations for completing a flight demonstration and subsequent Type and Production Certification program with the e-Volo VC200 Volocopter VC200. We also presented a comparison report between the first candidate and the e-Volo.

Since the VC200 was not originally designed for Autonomous flight, e-Volo must develop and test that capability. Thus, a flight demonstration phase was established in September. JDA will likely be contracted to support the pre-flight demonstration review and the flight demo in September.

vc200 autonomous flight evolo

Al Tayer added that the RTA is working with the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to develop the legislative and operational guidelines, define specifications and standards applicable to operators in the emirate such that these legislations will be ready before the date set for the commercial and official operation of the autonomous air vehicles.

“It is noteworthy that the operational and legislative structures will be the first of their kind worldwide. In coordination with its strategic partners, the RTA will specify the air routes of journeys, take-off and landing points of these taxis as well as the logistics needed to ensure safe and smooth mobility of passengers. The RTA will forge additional partnerships with other manufacturers of autonomous air vehicles after ensuring their fulfillment of specifications and standards of air safety approved in Dubai,” Al Tayer enumerated.

Autonomous Aerial Urban Transport System

 


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