Dubai Takes the Lead: Flying Taxis Set to Soar by 2026

It was a day of visionary declarations as the curtains came down on the 3rd Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Dubai Takes the Lead: Flying Taxis Set to Soar by 2026
© Getty Images Entertainment/Warren Little

It was a day of visionary declarations as the curtains came down on the 3rd Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport. Duncan Walker, CEO of London-based Skyports, painted an exciting picture of the near future: “Dubai will be the first city (in the world) with a fully-developed network of vertiports for permanent air taxi services by 2026”.

These vertiports will support electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircrafts, signaling a shift in how we view urban transportation. Walker's ambitious assertion isn't just a CEO's dream; it's rapidly transforming into a tangible reality.

With its vertiport design receiving approval at the World Government Summit in Dubai earlier this year, Skyports Infrastructure is now set to lay the groundwork for this futuristic mode of transport. The initial launch of these flying taxis will connect four of Dubai's busiest zones, "providing high-speed, zero-emissions connectivity," according to Skyports' official statement.

This seamless integration will revolutionize commute within the city, melding innovation with sustainability.

Embracing Aerial Progress

Dubai's leadership is already onboard with this aerial renaissance. Notably, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, alongside Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, were presented with a vertiport model by Mattar Al Tayer, the RTA director general.

Their endorsement speaks volumes about the emirate's commitment to pioneering technological advancements. Additionally, Joby Aviation, a U.S. startup specializing in eVTOLs, has partnered with Skyports to champion this initiative, further solidifying the project's potential for success.

The primary vertiport will strategically situate itself near Dubai International Airport (DXB), initially servicing routes to Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Downtown, and Dubai Marina. This connectivity aims not only to ease transportation but also to set a precedent for cities worldwide.

A Boon for the Global Industry

Flying cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction. With the industry projected to be valued at a staggering $150 billion by 2035, startups globally are advocating for their potential to reduce urban traffic and decrease pollution.

These compact aerial vehicles, powered by electricity and equipped with noise-reducing propellors, are poised to redefine our urban skies.

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