Flying cars at Gitex Global: Experts say this could be a commercial reality within a few months
Flying cars at Gitex Global: Experts say this could be a commercial reality within a few months Image Credit: Virendra Saklani

Cups of steaming coffee, hundreds of badges hanging by lanyards, and a steady stream of visitors outside the gates – Gitex Global 2022 couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. It was shortly before 8.50am when I got off Dubai Metro to be part of the rush into the halls at Dubai World Trade Centre.

This is one of the biggest events to be held in Dubai since COVID-19 preventive measures were further relaxed; conspicuous by their absence were the face masks, which had sadly become the mainstay for over two years.

The place was already buzzing as I entered one of the halls. Flying cars with spinning propellors were the biggest attraction, until a robot ‘dog’ by Swiss-Mile stole the show. Standing on its ‘hindlegs’, the four-wheeled machine patrolled the isles as passersby stopped to take selfies and videos.

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A few feet away, at the Huawei pavilion, a woman gave a traditional dance performance on a miniature stage. Next to it was the Cadillac InnerSpace, a two-person futuristic concept car with a giant screen – and without a steering wheel in sight. It’s VIP guest was none other than Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance, as he entered the venue.

In another hall, the RTA’s self-driving Cruise vehicle built on the Chevrolet Bolt electric platform was on display. A few stalls away, an imposing Ghiath patrol car by the Dubai Police commanded presence like none other. The vehicle is manufactured in the UAE by W Motors.

While UAE government pavilions were at their sparkling best, international tech giants weren’t far behind either. E-sports companies were giving visitors a shot at their best online games, an air purification/sanitizing bot was doing the rounds spraying puffs into the air, and all meeting rooms were full of people networking face to face.