Dubai, the land of flying taxis?

The tiny Arab nation of Dubai has granted permission to the German company Volocopter to conduct a five-year test of its electric flying taxis in the country. The air taxi, made from carbon fibers, weighs less than 1,000 pounds and looks like a giant drone. It has nine batteries powering 18 rotors. The batteries can turn the rotors for about 30 minutes on a charge, and the contraption can reach a top speed of 100 km per hour (or about 60 mph). The craft takes off and lands vertically and, ultimately, will be self-driving. As unlikely as the flying taxi might seem, Daimler recently put €25 million into the company. Lilium, which is developing a vertical-takeoff-and-landing jet, banked $90 million in capital last September. More than a dozen other hopefuls are pursuing their own short-hop air cabs.

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