Daily Insider: Get ready for Jetsons-like air taxis in Dubai
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Daily Insider: Get ready for Jetsons-like air taxis in Dubai

Daily Insider: Get ready for Jetsons-like air taxis in Dubai

Electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles, ferrying both passengers and goods, could become a reality in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the next five years.

Gareth van Zyl

Flying cars were always a distinct feature of the famous 1960s Jetsons cartoons, which portrayed the adventures of George Jetson, his wife Jane and teenage daughter Judy.

The cartoon series is probably rapidly fading into history today, but its projection of the future might become a thing of reality in the next decade.

And just like George Jetson zipping around in his aero-car in Orbit City, the real flying vehicles look set to make their debut in Dubai and Abu Dhabi within the next five years. That’s, of course, if industry players’ projections are anything to go by. 

At last week’s Dubai Air Show, Gulf Business caught up with key players in the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) space.

For example, air taxi maker Archer Aviation said it has secured orders for as many as 100 Midnight eVTOL aircraft worth $500m from UAE’s Air Chateau International.

We reported that “the partnership with Air Chateau is expected to further strengthen Archer’s plans to commence air taxi operations in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 2026.”

But it’s not just passengers that eVTOL aircraft are set to carry in the UAE.

During the Dubai Airshow, EANAN also showcased its S-120 and S-700 eVTOL Heavy Cargo craft

Ali Al Ameemi, EANAN’s CEO, said unmanned aerial vehicles, in particular, can cater to diverse needs, ranging from carrying small grocery payloads to heavier cargo capacities of between 250 to 450 kilograms.

A key hurdle facing this new industry, though, is regulation, certification and developing trust in safety. There’s no doubt that this sector will encounter just as much — or even more scrutiny  — when compared to the self-driving or autonomous motor vehicles space.

Then there’s the infrastructure that needs to be built to accommodate these all flying vehicles.

However, it’s clear that eVTOL industry is determined to make these flying craft a reality, and there’s an incentive for authorities in a country like the UAE to be seen as leaders when it comes to this space.

So just like George Jetson in his aero-car, strap yourself in for what could be a very interesting ride.

Gareth van Zyl is the Group Editor of Gulf Business. Gareth has more than 15 years of experience covering the technology and business sectors in the UAE and South Africa

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