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Dubai could soon have a Mars-inspired air taxi – News

Photo: Exterior

Published: Friday, December 22, 2023, 6:00 am

Last update: Friday, December 22, 2023, 7:23

An air taxi inspired by the principles behind NASA’s ‘Ingenuity’ helicopter currently operating on the planet Mars will soon be able to transport passengers and cargo in Dubai.

This comes courtesy of an Austrian company that has already entered into a collaboration with the UAE authorities.

FlyNow aviation will be commercial and airborne in 28 months, as authorities around the world are worried about the collapse of traffic in megacities that will cause huge economic losses.

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The developers label it as “the most efficient configuration and infrastructure ever built in this space.”

Yvonne Venter, co-founder and CEO of FlyNow Aviation, said: “We have single-seaters and two-seaters. In 28 months we will have initial series production of the charging version. Therefore, we will have the cargo version before moving to the production of the passenger version.”

Yvonne Venter.  Photo: Nandini Sircar/KT

Yvonne Venter. Photo: Nandini Sircar/KT

The eVTOL, which has a cruising speed of 130 km/h and the sound of a dishwasher, can help passengers travel in comfort and style.

“The cargo version can carry up to 200 kg, which conforms to the standard size in logistics. “Its operating philosophy resembles that of NASA’s ‘Ingenuity’ helicopter for Mars,” he added.

The rotor system of this eVTOL is highly efficient, allowing it to fly in atmospheres with a density significantly lower than that of the Earth, generating ample lift and control, ideal for operating in environments such as high altitudes.

“We have a range of 50 kilometers and another 25 extra kilometers for safety reasons. We will be able to reach a cruising speed of up to 130 kilometers. Our eVTOLS have the noise level of a dishwasher. So it is very quiet,” he added.

The Austrian company looking to make further inroads in the region has apparently already set the benchmark in all essential areas such as affordability, operability, certification readiness and efficiency.

“The patented technology and the first customers have already signed.”

It is explained that these air taxis will fly at a specific landing and take-off center, adopting an automatic approach to flying on a predefined route.

“The vehicle will be on autopilot and we will travel a predefined route. So, for example, if you land at Al Maktoum International Airport, you go to the private heliport operator Air Chateau and then book your flight to your hotel.”

How will the flight plan be designed?

Meanwhile, air traffic management or an affiliated company will analyze the weather conditions to prepare a flight plan and then transmit this information to air traffic control.

“When this is approved, the vehicle takes off following the pre-programmed route and only air traffic control can interfere. In a situation where the passenger is not feeling well for some reason, he presses a panic button. The vehicle then descends to the next alternative landing site. “

Photo: Exterior

Photo: Exterior

Venter emphasizes that these eVTOLs will also be equipped with sensors to avoid collisions and only air traffic control will have the authority to intervene in the flight path.

“This is crucial as it ensures that the airspace, particularly during various operations, remains under the exclusive control of the authority.”

Venter clarified the ongoing conversations with various entities in the region: “We are currently in talks with different organizations and investors. For example, Air Chateau (the first and only private heliport operating company in the UAE) is one of our partners. We consider this region, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia, to be a lucrative market. Therefore, the MENA region is our entry point to the Middle East market. We believe this region is innovative, fast-paced and ambitious. That’s why we want to be part of it.”



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