Dubai's autonomous flying taxi has finally taken to the sky


Dubai's autonomous flying taxis have finally been cleared for takeoff. The self-styled "Future City" just held the first test flight for its autonomous aerial taxi (AAT) service, showing off the craft that will ferry passengers around the city for what the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA) is calling the world's first self-flying taxi service. There were no passengers in the craft for the trial flight, which was attended by the city's transportation authorities and Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. The trial flight is the first step in a proposed five-year collaboration between the the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to establish a suitable framework for the taxi service.

Dubai tests a passenger drone for its flying taxi service


Dubai was serious when it said it wants to be first in the world to offer a flying taxi service. That's why on Monday, it staged a maiden test flight for one of its potential taxis: a two-seater, 18-rotor unmanned flying vehicle made by German firm Volocopter, which is backed by fellow German company Daimler. They envision a future wherein you'll be able to hail a flying taxi like an Uber -- simply book one through an app and wait for it at a nearby "voloport." If everything goes well, you could catch a Volocopter ride in Dubai within the next five years.

Dubai begins testing drone taxi service


Dubai has announced the first test flight for its taxi drone, which saw the driverless flying transport service hover around 200 metres above the ground during a five-minute flight. Following the trial, Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said the company plans to launch the flying taxi service within five years. Vahana, which Airbus is hoping to test during 2017, is designed to travel at around 230km/h, Airbus A3 head of autonomous systems Arne Stoschek said, and will have to skirt airborne obstacles without the ability to apply brakes. Telstra CTO Håkan Eriksson had last week suggested that regulatory difficulties could be solved by treating drones as flying mobile phones and allowing network operators to offer a "drone-control-as-a-service" offering.

Super Cruise: Semi-autonomous Cadillacs for hands-free freeway trips dealership-bound

The Japan Times

DETROIT – General Motors' Cadillac luxury brand is embarking on a cross-country drive to show off its version of a car that almost drives itself on the freeway. A dozen Cadillac CT6 sedans will leave the brand's New York headquarters Monday and head for Los Angeles as cars with the "Super Cruise" system start arriving at dealerships. Unlike Tesla's system, Super Cruise will operate only on limited-access freeways. Although Tesla and other automakers offer similar systems, GM says Super Cruise is the only one that lets drivers take their hands off the wheel.

Air New Zealand recruits a 'digital human' for its customer service team


Sophie, the'digital human', greeted guests at the recent US launch of Air New Zealand's global marketing campaign A Better Way to Fly. Air New Zealand worked with Soul Machines to create'Sophie' as it explores how artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies can be used to help travelers. Soul Machines says the technology behind Sophie uses neural networks and brain models to bring its digital humans to life from their cloud based human computing engine which sits on top of an artificial Intelligence platform powered by IBM Watson. Luxon says artificial intelligence is one of the areas they are focusing on to achieve this, starting with Oscar the Bot, and now, with Sophie.

How Advanced Analytics are Transforming the Aviation Industry


For example, airlines have long tried to decipher travel patterns and passenger preferences, but recent advances in analytics, using machine learning algorithms, makes it possible to understand the nuances of whether passengers can or are willing to pay for additional ancillary services related to air travel – by making that transactional data visible and most importantly, actionable. Through the intelligence gained from advanced analytics, airlines can further hone their services based on passenger preferences – offering discounts on the types of food or retail that they know the passenger prefers – which ultimately leads to customer loyalty and retention, in addition to establishing new opportunities to generate revenue. The future of customer service in air travel will involve custom-built itineraries and curated add-on services, based on individual preferences, that provide real-time suggestions based on choices you've made before. Machine learning and predictive analytics is the next big wave in airline digitization that uses data, analytics and predictive algorithms to determine a traveler's propensity to spend, and presents airlines with a wealth of opportunities.

Dubai joins race to become first city with flying taxis

Daily Mail

Dubai has showcased a flight for what it said would soon be the world's first drone taxi service under an ambitious plan by the United Arab Emirates city to lead the Arab world in innovation. The flying taxi developed by German drone firm Volocopter resembles a small, two-seater helicopter cabin topped by a wide hoop studded with 18 propellers. Dubai has showcased a flight for what it said would soon be the world's first drone taxi service under an ambitious plan by the United Arab Emirates city to lead the Arab world in innovation Meant to run without remote control guidance and with a maximum flight duration of 30 minutes, it comes with plenty of fail-safes in case of trouble. Meant to run without remote control guidance and with a maximum flight duration of 30 minutes, it comes with plenty of fail-safes in case of trouble.

London Wants to Kick Uber Out of the City


After the ride-hailing company's five-year operating license expired this summer, the agency gave Uber a four-month extension while it considered granting it another five years. "It's likely this is part of TfL playing hardball with Uber," says André Spicer, who studies corporate social responsibility at Cass Business School in London. The campaign hit home, and De Blasio and Uber compromised: Uber would continue to grow, but it would provide city officials with more data on its operations. And late at night, when the Tube stops running (it does provide limited "Night Tube" service on Fridays and Saturdays), Uber is a particularly popular way to get home.

20 percent off a smart car charger and other good deals happening today

Popular Science

For the first time, the Anker Roav SmartCharge Car Kit is on sale for 20 percent off. If you put the code ANKERFMA at checkout, you can save $6. Beyond charging your devices, it uses Bluetooth and FM radio to connect to your car's stereo, so you can play music and answer phone calls. It's got two USB quick-charging ports, and let's you use the Roav app to find your car in case you've forgotten where you parked it.