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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

All eyes to the sky as Dubai's flying taxi takes off for the first time

Unmanned tests show Ehang 184 in Burj Al Arab flypast

Since early 2017, the EHang184 autonomous aerial vehicle has experimented flight tests in Dubai sky at the test site of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority
Since early 2017, the EHang184 autonomous aerial vehicle has experimented flight tests in Dubai sky at the test site of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority

Footage has been released of what is believed to be the world's first flying taxi being tested in Dubai.

The two minute 20 second YouTube video shows the Ehang pilotless passenger drone making a night time take off next to the Burj Al Arab hotel.

Other footage shows the craft taking off from the airstrip at Skydive Dubai and flying over the desert. The craft is shown being controlled from the ground and is not carrying any passengers.

China's Ehang company announced in February that it hoped to have the flying taxi operating by the end of this year. The Ehang 184 has a top speed of around 100kph and maximum battery powered flying time of around half an hour.

The company released the footage this month, but does not specify when it was taken.

Read more: UAE "closes the gate" on drone imports that fail to meet new criteria

In the text accompanying the video, Ehang says the tests have been taking place since the start of 2017 at the test site of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) and at : "Deserts and coastal environments for a number of adaptive aviation flight test subjects." The National was unable to reach anyone from the company for further comment.

At the World Government Summit earlier this year, Mattar al-Tayer, the head of the Roads & Transportation Agency (RTA) described the craft as: "Not only a model, We have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai's skies."