Dubai: Flying cars, self-driving taxis, talking robots take centre stage on Gitex Day 1

A fully electric autonomous cab is expected to start its test drive around the Jumeirah 1 area in December


Nasreen Abdulla

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Photo by Shihab
Photo by Shihab

Published: Mon 10 Oct 2022, 9:13 PM

Last updated: Wed 12 Oct 2022, 11:55 AM

Flying cars, futuristic vehicles, interactive robots and innovative solutions to common problems marked the first day of the technology exhibition Gitex. It was the first time in two years that attendees could come to the event without any Covid-related restrictions. Roads in and around the Dubai World Trade Centre were packed, with people facing hours of delays as thousands attended the event.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, today officially opened Gitex Global 2022. On Sunday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tweeted that the event "has put Dubai on the global technology map and put technology at the top of Dubai's priorities."

With 5,000 companies from 90 countries exhibiting at the event spread over an area of 2 million square, Gitex is one of the largest technology exhibitions in the world.

XPeng Voyager X2 electric flying car. Photo by Rahul Gajjar
XPeng Voyager X2 electric flying car. Photo by Rahul Gajjar

Flying Cars & Autonomous Vehicles

Flying cars and autonomous vehicles took centre stage at the 42nd Gitex Global. While the company XPENG demonstrated its path-breaking flying car at the Dubai Marina as part of the event, some others, like SkyDrive exhibited models that could be turned into reality in the near future.

A fully electric autonomous self-driving taxi was exhibited by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) at its stand. It is expected to start its test drive around the Jumeirah 1 area in December. The authority expects it to be ready for customer use by next year.

Photo by Shihab
Photo by Shihab

Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi government pavilion revealed an autonomous minibus that will be introduced on Yas Island in time for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. With nine stops, it is expected to ferry at least 11 passengers at a time to and from the race that will take place in November.

Another self-driven car by TUC was exhibited at the e& stand. With provisions to connect household appliances like a fridge, coffee machine and washing machine, it is a unique vehicle that can also double up as a living space.

Also, at the e& pavilion was a talking robot dressed as a construction worker that interacted with visitors. It looked around, moved its hands and replied to comments from attendees.

Innovative solutions

Dubai Municipality disclosed how they are in the process of planning low-altitude air corridors and vertiports for unmanned aerial vehicles, like drones, in the city. This could mean that residents of the emirate could expect to receive their parcels via drones in the near future. A test phase for the Dubai Horizon project is already underway at Dubai's Silicon Oasis area.

Thermite robot in the Abu Dhabi pavilion. Photo by Shihab
Thermite robot in the Abu Dhabi pavilion. Photo by Shihab

Abu Dhabi Civil Defense revealed an innovative way to deal with dangerous fires in its Thermite Robot. With two water outlets that can pump 2,500 gallons of water per minute, the robot can function for 20 hours at a stretch and can be remotely controlled from 300m away.

Ecoflow, the battery-powered generator recognised among TIME's 100 best inventions last year, also made its debut at the exhibition. "It is especially important in this region, especially in countries like Lebanon and Iraq, which faces severe power issues," said Mohammad Alshawish from Ecoflow. "It is also extremely useful in disaster-hit areas to power hospitals and other important facilities."

The event will run until Friday, 14th October, and will welcome more than 100,000 attendees from 170 countries. This year's event will also see 35 Unicorns looking to explore new opportunities and expand in one of the world's fastest-growing markets.


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