UAE flying off on urban transport super highway

Rush hours are any commuter's nightmare. Being stuck in traffic - on the way to or from work - annoys everyone from London to New York and right down to Dubai.

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The Uber Elevate project has selected Dubai where its on-demand, urban air ride share service will be piloted by 2020. (File photo)

Rush hours are any commuter’s nightmare. Being stuck in traffic – on the way to or from work – annoys everyone from London to New York and right down to Dubai.

In fact, idling in a car is what unites residents of most metropolis. Apart from being an inconvenience to the commuters, such situations are a tremendous drain on the economy.

As per a 2014 study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, London, the expenses from traffic congestion amounted to around $200 billion in 2013 together for Britain, France, Germany and the US. This represented about 0.8 per cent of the combined GDP for these four countries. The study estimated that this figure could rise to over $300 billion in 2030.

A similar 2014 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) highlighted that traffic jams in the city of Manila cost the economy of the Philippines upwards of PHP 2.4 billion ($48 million) a day.

These losses accumulate as a cumulative result of a host of factors – productive time lost by the workforce; increased fuel consumption and associated transport costs and its multiplier impact on the prices of goods; and the negative impact on the environment caused by increased pollution.

What these examples highlight are the issues our big cities face today. However, many technology firms are viewing this as an opportunity to innovate and develop creative and sustainable answers. One potential solution that is fast emerging is on-demand aviation, especially which is based on autonomous flying vehicles. Other possibilities revolve around transformational ground/underground based applications.

For example, Kitty Hawk, a US-based start-up that is backed by Alphabet CEO Larry Page, has recently announced the ‘Kitty Hawk Flyer’ prototype – an all-electric ‘ultralight aircraft’ intended for personal transportation needs. This is a VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) craft – thus requiring less space for manoeuvring and flying and the company is hoping to hit the market with it within a year. More info

By Abhinav Purohit/dubai  khaleejtimes.com