9 high-tech examples that prove Dubai is the world’s most futuristic city

dubai robocop
Via Khaleej Times
In addition to being home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and biggest shopping malls, Dubai has also carved out a well-deserved reputation for being willing to go big with the latest emerging technology. From robotic police forces to autonomous taxis, here are our picks for Dubai’s most exciting (and, if you don’t live there, envy-inducing) tech innovations.

Firefighters with jetpacks

The saying “fight fire with fire” doesn’t mean much in Dubai. Instead, they prefer to do their firefighting with jetpacks.

That’s thanks to a deal between Martin Aircraft and the Dubai Civil Defense (DCD), which involves rolling out a number of custom $35k water-powered jetpacks, which can be used to put out fires along the city’s extensive shoreline. The device allows the firefighters to get a better vantage point for extinguishing blazes, as well as dodging the traffic.

Autonomous drone taxis

While most cities are still caught up wondering about regular self-driving cars, Dubai is busy putting self-driving flying cars through their paces. Given a test flight last month, Dubai’s the Autonomous Air Taxi (AAT) is described as the world’s first “self-flying taxi service.”

Although it’s not yet available commercially, the 18-rotor flying drone promises to be the eco-friendly, electrically-powered transportation solution of tomorrow — so long as you don’t want a flight longer than 30 minutes, that is!

The hotel of the future

dubai rainforest hotel 1
Zas Architects
Zas Architects

Planning a trip to Dubai next year, and looking for somewhere high-tech to stay? If so, you might want to check into the Rosemont Five Star Hotel & Residences. Still in development at the time this article was written, the 450 room hotel boasts a high end restaurant, manmade beach, giant aquarium, infinity pool, and more.

The reason the hotel made this list, though? Giant 36-degree computer-generated rainforests in the public areas, and a robotic host on the reception desk. It’s like you’ve gone on holiday to the future.

A real life robo-cop

Less smiley, but just as metallic as the robot host at the Rosemont Five Star Hotel is Dubai’s latest law enforcement officer. The first robot cop was introduced this summer, complete with a camera for transmitting live images and identifying suspects, and a touch screen which can be used by members of the public to report crimes and ask questions. According to the Smart Services division of the Dubai police, such humanoid robots will make up an entire quarter of the local police force by 2030.

Autonomous police cars

dubai tech projects dubaicar
OTSAW Digital
OTSAW Digital

Not content to just have humanoid robot cops on the street, Dubai has also signed an agreement with Singaporean startup called OTSAW Digital to introduce self-driving cop cars. The “cars” themselves are more like a child’s pedal car in size, and have a top speed of just 9.3 mph, but they boast the same LIDAR and sensing technology as larger autonomous vehicles. Most importantly, they can act as portable surveillance systems to search for wanted individuals or vehicles, or suspicious objects left unattended.

Mega solar plant

solar park

Having last month received a contract to build yet another extension, Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will eventually stretch to cover a massive 83 square miles, making it the world’s largest single-site solar park.

As if that wasn’t enough of a record breaker, it will also soon boast an enormous 260-meter (853-foot) solar tower, the tallest in the world. It’s a key ingredient in the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to increase the share of clean energy in the city to 7 percent by 2020, 25 percent by 2030, and a massive 75 percent by 2050.

Plus, it totally looks like the HQ for a future James Bond villain!

The Red Planet on Earth

dubai mars city mem 4

Just when you think Dubai is out of ideas, you hear about plans to build an enormous “space simulation city” that will offer up, “a viable and realistic model to simulate living on the surface of Mars.”

With a budget of $135 million and a footprint stretching to 1.9 million square feet, the Mars Science City will simulate as closely as possible the conditions of a real life Mars colony — complete with greenhouses for testing out agricultural techniques, solar radiation-blocking 3D printed walls, and far more.

It’s all part of a plan for the United Arab Emirates to send its first unmanned probe to Mars in 2020, and establish a colony there sometime in the next century.

The tallest building in existence

best drone photos 1
Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Dronestagram/Bachrim

What kind of super city of the future would Dubai be without laying claim to the world record for world’s tallest skyscraper? The Burj Khalifa stands at a whopping 2,722 feet, giving it a comfortable 700 feet on the second highest building in the world.

A great example of Neo-futurism that could come straight out of the world of Blade Runner, the Burj is an angular masterpiece of engineering which contains a luxury hotel, observation decks, apartments, corporate offices, restaurants, observatories, and the world’s highest nightclub. Not to be missed. Unless you’re terrified of heights, we guess.

Iced coffee delivered by drone on the beach

When you think about the kind of optimistic future promised to us by (some) science fiction writers, what could sound more utopian than a drone descending from the heavens to deliver you an iced coffee while you’re lounging on the beach?

That’s something Costa’s Jumeirah Beach Drive-Thru store trialled earlier this year in the swanky Kite Beach area of Dubai, with its niftily-named Coffee-Copter. While there’s no guarantee that this becomes a permanent fixture of the beach scene, it speaks volumes about Dubai’s zany innovation that this was even trialled.

Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what’s leaving in January 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for January 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.

Allegro.ai is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named Allegro.ai. We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.
Emerging Tech

Researchers create a flying wireless platform using bumblebees

Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a novel way to create a wireless platform: using bumblebees. As mechanical drones' batteries run out too fast, the team made use of a biology-based solution using living insects.
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.