That “hopefully” from Al Tayer is an important hedge to make for a product that, it appears, has not yet officially taken flight with paying customers anywhere else in the world.

In fact, when EHang unveiled its drone taxi at the Consumer Electronics Show a year ago in January 2016, its “demo video” of the autonomous vehicle soaring over snowcapped mountains and the San Francisco skyline turned out to be computer generated.

FORBES writer Ryan Mac noted then that EHang was one of several drone companies who had overhyped their ability to commercialise a futuristic product.

The latest video of the EHang 184 (above) which was shown in Dubai this week, shows a well-groomed business executive putting a briefcase into the drone and then folding himself into the sports-car-like interior. Notably, the video doesn’t show him in the drone when it flies up towards the clouds.

EHang, based in Guangzhou, China and with offices in San Carlos, Calif., has raised some $53 million to date according to PitchBook data, and its investors include GGV Capital and Golden Partners Capital. It’s website, www.ghost-drone.com, did not appear to be accessible on Tuesday.

The EHang 184 is part of a wider initiative that Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced in April 2016: that he wanted 25% of all passenger journeys in Dubai to be carried out in autonomous vehicles by 2030.

Since then, the city’s officials has struck a deal with Hyperloop One to study the possibility of building a Hyperloop line that connects Dubai to Abu Dhabi. In September 2016 a driverless shuttle called the EZ10, made by French company EasyMile began running a 700-meter trial route on Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.

SOURCE: Forbes