Welcome to the future, welcome to Abu Dhabi…

Nope this isn’t another ‘flying taxis’ story — this is about real future tech, with autonomous wheels on the ground in Abu Dhabi right now.

The Smart Mobility Project, operating on Yas and Saadiyat Islands, currently sits with a fleet of three Automatic Rapid Transit vehicles (tams), eight autonomous Robo Taxi vehicles, and six Robo Minibuses.

It’s a programme co-authored by the Integrated Transport Centre and Bayanat.AI, specialists in geospatial intelligence.

After a successful outing at the Abu Dhabi F1 this year, the buses are currently doing rounds of Yas Island and come fitted with a range of Q-Branch-car-sounding gadgetry including LiDER. They can seat seven people and are making stops at nine strategic locations on Yas Island including “W hotel, Yas Water World, Yas Marina Circuit and Ferrari World”. And best of all — the service is free.

The vehicles are branded under the Txai (not a typo) moniker, who you may remember from some earlier autonomous chauffeuring last year

Txai had already teased a return of its ‘look no hands’ cars for 2022 across its social media channels, with a further announcement that one of the backing partners (along with the ITC and G42), Bayanat had now mapped “the entire UAE” — all as part of the ongoing driverless vehicle project.

To infinity, and beyond..?

But when are we going to get flying taxis?

With no firm plans in place, we can’t in all good conscience put a date on it. Let’s just see how these AI-powered ground-based ones go first yeah?

Images: ITC via Twitter