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Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/14/2017 1:36 PM

It looks as if all systems are go.

According to New Atlas there will be EHang 184 taxi drones operating in Dubai this July. So before we are using fully automated ground taxi comes the fully automated air taxi. I guess that makes sense. Dubai has a curious way of bypassing the extensive red tape. I won't be going to give it a go, but I'm sure reviews will be forthcoming. If it proves itself I can imagine they will pop up as a 'ride' in Vegas etc.

I doubt they will be point to point as in driveway to parking lot or the local baseball field anytime soon meaning it won't be a true taxi service. I'd give it a go. ..as a ride in Vegas, but it will probably be $50 / $75 to call one over + $5 per mile.

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#1

Re: drone taxi coming in July this year.

02/14/2017 2:28 PM

Who forgot the locking pin on the front-left strut!!

Blue . . . .NO! Yellow!

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#2

Re: drone taxi coming in July this year.

02/14/2017 2:40 PM

I think you are being generous on the fee.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: drone taxi coming in July this year.

02/14/2017 5:56 PM

You're probably right. I was trying to fathom what people would be willing to pay to travel 10/20 miles in a jif?

They will need a large number of these and a realistic price point for use to be considered a legitimate taxi service. otherwise it's just a joy ride.

of course for every minute of flight there is probably 2X the time on the ground for charging at a bare minimum.

until they have a two seater available its not even much of a joy ride..

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#3

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/14/2017 4:08 PM

So we go from a road traffic nightmare to an air traffic nightmare...only we now wreck while airborne.

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#5

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/14/2017 6:13 PM

Looks like fun until the battery runs down!

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/14/2017 6:55 PM

yeah. don't use the battery from notebooks. (lap tops) I don't care what they say about run time.. they all develop an ability to die without notice. It's villainous

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/14/2017 7:22 PM

Hmmmm . . . since you cannot feather the rotor blades, I guess you cannot autorotate like a conventional helicopter, but maybe as you drop out of the sky, you can "re-charge" the batteries for one last heroic thrust prior to touchdown.

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#8
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Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/14/2017 7:58 PM

that's actually a pretty sweet idea. Kinda like a space -X landing..which I would have to imagine as equally terrifying!

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#9
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Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/14/2017 9:07 PM

I wouldn't want to do either, but I believe Hooker has been through an autorotation landing. He lives to tell about it. For non-rotorhead people, the very thought of an unpowered helicopter landing sounds particularly frightful. Most people will acknowledge an airplane's ability to glide. It's not intuitive to think of helicopters that way.

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#14
In reply to #9

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 8:08 AM

Yup, I've been along on dozens of autorotations in Chinooks. They used to be a standard emergency procedure, among others, to be demonstrated when qualifying a new pilot in my Hook unit. And, if we had a runway handy, we usually did them to a full stop on the ground. The runway allowed for a safe way to kill what forward momentum may be left without risking the helicopter. Especially since we had wheels, not skids.

But comparing a conventional helicopter to this little beastie is apples and oranges. In this thing there is no way to increase and store momentum in the rotor system on engine failure by changing the blade pitch to negative. And without an interlocked drive system like a tandem rotor helicopter, coordinating all the rotors would take a monumentally complex control system even if the blades had variable pitch.

And then there's the sticky problem of quickly picking a landing spot without a human to evaluate the conditions.

We had a discussion of this "thing" on one of my helicopter nets and the general consensus was "I'd rather WALK".

Hooker

PS - I'd still rather be in a helicopter than an airplane in an engine failure emergency. The goal for a helicopter is to meet the ground at zero or near zero airspeed. The best you can do in an airplane is stall speed.

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 11:58 AM

Yes, and generally an airplane will have a larger skid foothill at the "landing" site.

People fly beasties that auto-rotate all the time (gyrocopters), but these have that needed push prop. When the engine dies, you are still autorotating, you just start losing forward momentum, and have less air over the rotor, slightly, so that you start falling faster...? Hitting barbed wire fence with this is not recommended my buddy tells me.

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 1:09 PM

You are essentially correct on gyro flight dynamics.

There's considerable difference between helicopters and gyrocopters. With gyro's the lift is generated by the wind moving up through the rotor disk where the airfoil shaped blades act more like a windmill. The resultant force can be likened to a close hauled sail on a sailboat or even the wing of an airplane. They must maintain forward airspeed to maintain rpm and lift, even during an engine failure, which in this case the rotor dynamics are no different from their normal flight, unlike a helicopter. As you say, gyrocopters are always autorotating. Helicopters can autorotate vertically, though forward airspeed greatly adds efficiency until the landing where forward airspeed is mostly dissipated.

I am, of course, referring to gyrocopters with fixed pitch rotor blades and fixed mast. There are other designs where the flight dynamics differ. And my description of the aerodynamics of a gyrocopter is overly simplified. For details, clike HERE.

Hooker

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#24
In reply to #19

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 3:08 PM

I helped him build the one he built after the first one tripped over a barbed wire fence on the final approach (literally).

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#27
In reply to #24

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 3:31 PM

Heh heh, he's not the first (or last) to get hung up on a perimeter fence.

That kinda reminds me of the time we landed my Hook at home base with a couple hundred feet of commo wire trailing behind the aft right landing gear. We low leveled a lot but I never figured out where we picked to up.

Tree limbs were not uncommon hitchhikers either.

Hooker

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 3:36 PM

At least you never clipped any marchers.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 3:56 PM

Nope, that's true, but we did some things 40+ years ago that could probably be considered war crimes today!! I'll decline to describe them.

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 4:42 PM

I'll just suggest you blew out the candles on a birthday cake. A dastardly deed!

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#32
In reply to #30

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 5:53 PM

For sure. I should get life for that one. Yay, 3 hots and a cot. Free.

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#16
In reply to #7

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 11:54 AM

Actually, I wonder if the masterful engineers on this have considered emergency charging during fall as last ditch effort to save the passenger!

I believe it needs that. It also will have or will need to have autonomous other vehicle avoidance system based on ?? radar? infrared?? microwaves?? visible??

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#37
In reply to #5

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/28/2017 12:38 PM

I won't be using one, I'm sure.

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#10

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/14/2017 9:33 PM

I have no idea why the guy in the video put on a seat belt, what could possibly go wrong?

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/14/2017 10:24 PM

I was thinking the same thing about the dual doors.. emergency exit for when it ditches onto one side?

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#12

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/14/2017 11:53 PM

I could image an in a hurry fare with cell phone stuck to the side of head being chopped to bits by still rotating rotor blades.

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#18
In reply to #12

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 12:45 PM

Kinda like the rotating knives in the block of flats.

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 1:37 PM

You wouldn't regret this. Think of the tourist trade.

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#21
In reply to #18

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 1:47 PM

Are these the knives?

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#31
In reply to #21

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 5:17 PM

Yep. I am certainly not disappointed by yours and Andrew's ability to pick up on the subtle hints.

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#13

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 2:30 AM

Dubai Longtime Hub for Migrating Birds

Birds that pass through the UAE in the thousands include almost all species of small and big-sized waders such as plovers, stints, snipes, sandpipers, godwits, curlews, whimbrels, turnstones, ruffs, all species of gulls barring the Sooty Gull that is partly resident and mostly migratory, ducks, teals, Great Cormorant, terns and flamingos.

The Ehang 184 is not equipped with a parachute.

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#15

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 11:48 AM

You won't see my fat butt flying over to Dubai for that. I weigh too much.

I would not get on the thing if it was near the load limit. I expect a heavier person needs to watch his carry-on weight also.

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#22
In reply to #15

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 1:53 PM

I would be more concerned the thing would fly into a dense flock of startled flamingos. Dubui is along major migratory routes between Africa and the north, all the way to arctic. Millions of birds fly through there - and just about the time they're starting up this service. August sees a lot of birds through there. Dubai is the last place I would start a flying taxi service.

Once they kill a sheikh or two this service will auger-in faster than you can say "Allah akbar."

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 2:34 PM

I hear you there.. And we've seen plenty of quadcop footage where they are being run into by all types of currious birds.

An anti bird defense system would add more poundage.

Hmmm... I have a business partner/friend that was working on just such a system. I might just give him a call. It's a unique aproach that's lightweight, harmless and may be useful.

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#26
In reply to #23

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 3:24 PM

You mean the one with the bird feeding trays on outriggers apart from the whirling knives (of the flats)?

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#25
In reply to #22

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 3:23 PM

You mean to tell me Dog's Paradise is under the shadow of the rotating blades of the flats?

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#33

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/15/2017 8:40 PM

I think Arnold had a little trouble with an driver-less taxi!!

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#34

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/17/2017 1:47 PM

Weeeeee! A little home brew contender

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/17/2017 4:30 PM

That'll make it to the scene alright, the scene of the crash.

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#36

Re: Drone Taxi Coming in July This Year

02/20/2017 11:07 PM

what the?

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Andrew Westman (3); Brave Sir Robin (5); Dr. Harry (1); Fredski (1); Hooker (5); James Stewart (8); JE in Chicago (8); redfred (2); Rixter (1); Sid_Sidow (1); tonyhemet (1); WJMFIRE (1)

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