Dubai recently set a goal to become the smartest city in the world. It seems the emirate could be well on its way to achieving that goal, as it is attempting to replace regular, boring cabs with drone taxis, potentially by the summer of 2017. If you’re the type of person who hates making small talk in cabs and overly conversational (or creepy) Uber drivers, this is incredible news for you (well, if you live in Dubai). Hop in, choose your destination with a touch screen, and off you go.
Besides the fact that flying above rush hour traffic and waving “see you, suckers” to bumper-to-bumper toy-sized cars down below would be completely awesome, there are a multitude of real benefits to this technological advance. The drones would chug along in the skies at speeds of up to 62 miles an hour (although it is able to reach speeds of up to 100 mph) thus avoiding traffic and cutting down commute time on Dubai’s overly congested and often dangerous freeways.
The Chinese manufacturing company, Ehang, claims that the drone is “the safest, smartest and eco-friendly low altitude autonomous aerial vehicle.” If you find yourself skeptical about boarding a flying pod with no pilot, it is said to be programmed with a fail-safe system, and in case of emergency the drone would prepare to land in the closest safe area.
Although it hasn’t been said that these drones would replace all ground transportation with human drivers, it is not the first driverless mode of transport in Dubai. By 2030, Dubai hopes to have 25 percent of its public transit automated.
If the rest of the world just admits how cool this is, will you quit showing off, Dubai?
Amanda Allbee is a travel intern for Paste and a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia.