With a whirling buzz from 18 rotors, the pilot-less helicopter gently lifted off the ground and soared up into the afternoon sky, the spire of the world's tallest building visible behind it. The recent unmanned flight by the German-made electric Volocopter represents the latest step in Dubai's pursuit of flying taxis. Dubai already has invested in another model of a flying, autonomous taxi, and is working to design regulations for their use. Putting more passengers in the air could free its already clogged highways and burnish the city's cutting-edge image of itself. "It's public transportation for everybody, so you can use, you can order it, you can pay for the trip and the trip is not much more expensive than with a car," said Alexander Zosel, Volocopter's co-founder.
The US government has launched an investigation into the safety of automaker Tesla's autonomous driving system after what may be the world's first known death involving "self-driving" technology. A driver of a Tesla Model S car operating the system, which is called Autopilot, was killed in a collision with a truck two months ago, prompting the probe, which was disclosed on Thursday. The accident, according to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol, killed Joshua Brown on a clear, dry roadway on May 7 in the state of Florida. The crash will add fire to a debate within the auto industry, and in legal circles, over the safety of systems that take partial control of steering and braking from drivers.