Saudi Arabia unveils world’s first self-driving flying taxi

  • Saudi Arabia has finally unveiled their self-driving flying taxi
  • It’s transforming the transportation of pilgrims during Hajj
  • It’s a world first

Published on Jun 17, 2024 at 8:28 PM (UTC+4)
by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

Last updated on Jun 18, 2024 at 5:33 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

Saudi Arabia has launched the world’s first self-driving flying taxi.

This groundbreaking innovation is aimed at transforming the transportation of pilgrims during Hajj from June 14-19.

The EH216-S completed its first flight with a passenger on board in Abu Dhabi just last month.

READ MORE: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s the EHang flying car

Who’s behind the flying taxi?

The company behind this cool invention is called EHang – and it is gaining some serious traction globally.

This electric air taxi service was inaugurated by Minister of Transport and Logistics Engineer Saleh Al Jasser.

For now, its route will run experimentally only between Arafat, Mina, and Muzdalifah.

As well as transporting pilgrims, it could also provide crucial logistics support and emergency services if the need arises.

What’s the broader plan?

The futuristic initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s broader Vision 2030 strategy.

The initiative seeks to leverage advanced technologies like artificial intelligence to revolutionize various sectors – including transportation.

And it’s not the only country on board with flying cars, as EHang also revealed its own fleet of flying taxis for a futuristic transportation system in China.

EHang’s mission is all about making air travel more accessible and eco-friendly.

It’s hoped that companies like EHang and Xpeng and their flying cars will gradually revolutionize the way we travel.

Besides EHang’s EH216-S flying with a passenger, there are other versions of this flying wonder, like the EH216-F used for firefighting and the EH216-L used for aerial logistics.

They all took to the skies, showcasing the different ways these pilotless flying taxis can be used.

How does the self-driving tech work?

Vehicles like the EH216-S are built to tackle challenges like traffic congestion and pollution.

And with high redundancy design and intelligent cluster management, safety is not in doubt.

The autonomous aerial vehicle (AVV), is a two-seater aircraft that has flight paths pre-programmed in order to both maximize efficiency and minimize the chances of something going wrong.

 Being an eVTOL – Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing – means that it is both fully electrically powered, and can take off and land vertically without the need for a runway in an urban area.


Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

London-based Amelia cut her journalistic teeth covering all things lifestyle, wellness and luxury in the UK capital. Fast-forward a decade and the experienced content creator and editor has put pen to paper for glossy magazines, busy newsrooms and coveted brands. When her OOO is on you can find her spending quality time with her young family, in the gym or exploring the city she loves.