Flying taxis in Dubai: Will they invade your privacy, disturb your sleep with noise?

The company founder addressed several questions related to the drone delivery system's speed and decibel levels at the World Governments Summit

by

Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 12 Feb 2024, 5:36 PM

Last updated: Fri 16 Feb 2024, 6:20 PM

Are you worried about privacy and the noises of flying taxis flying over your homes? Aviation industry executives say there is no need to fret.

JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said Dubai residents should not be concerned about the privacy of drones flying over their homes as they will be flying at an exceptionally fast pace and at a high altitude.

While speaking on the first day of the World Governments Summit, Bevirt said the air taxi “will be flying 320km an hour at a high altitude so there is no concern about lack of privacy.”

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“We are aiming to deliver an amazing experience at a vastly shorter travel time for passengers,” he told Khaleej Times in an interview on Monday.

On Sunday, Joby Aviation signed a definitive agreement with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) to launch air taxi services in the emirate by early 2026.

Adam Grosser, chairman and managing director of UP Partners, said there was a lot of worry about flying drones over houses. "It’s considered unpleasant, noisy and invading privacy. But based on the experiences of hundreds of thousands of deliveries with speeds of 70 to 90 miles, it will be a very short time and will not invade privacy. Going forward, the convenience of transporting goods through drones will outweigh most peoples’ concerns. The modern drone delivery system will be delivering goods within 3-5 minutes,” Grosser said during a panel discussion on the first day of the World Governments Summit at Madinat Jumeirah.

“In the last 10 years, there has been a real evolution of system design on how to integrate with retail, work with regulatory authorities and delivery services.”

With regard to the noise of drones, he stressed that all companies have spent quite a lot of time and money to deal with it. In 2022, Joby collaborated with Nasa to measure the sound of its aircraft, confirming it registered the equivalent of 45.2 A-weighted decibels (dBA) when flying overhead at an altitude of 1,640 feet – quieter than a typical conversation.

“The hard part in drones is avionics and cooperatively operating aerospace with full scale aircraft with this new form of aviation,” he added.

He added that the cost to deliver goods through drones is already below other modes of transport and is going to go lower. “Scaling at this point is really not about technical barriers but a regulatory situation.”

JoeBen Bevirt said his company is also discussing pricing of the air taxi with Dubai' Roads and Transport of Authority and will be released just before the launch of the service in 2026.

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