INTERVIEW: Tools which can help Dubai achieve its ambitions of becoming a smart city, such as drone taxis, can only become a reality with the help of 5G, the head of the city’s digitisation initiative emphasised.

Aisha Bin Bishr, director general at the government-backed Smart Dubai programme (pictured), told Mobile World Live it is currently testing multiple technologies and approaches.

Drone taxis, for instance, are “an amazing tool to overcome many of the challenges around traffic”, but are just one example of approaches which won’t see the light of day without 5G, “because you need to have this kind of speed and fast connectivity that 5G brings to the table”.

“Our telcos today in Dubai…Etisalat and du are testing 5G and hopefully we will see its first implementation in Expo 2020, and we will see drone taxis very soon,” she added.

Bin Bishr also shed light on the pillars of Smart Dubai: putting the right policies and logistics in place; designing and implementing experiences using emerging technology such as blockchain and artificial intelligence; and working with relevant entrepreneurs and start-ups.

She believes the programme has a model than can be copied by any emerging market city, be they in India or China, and is keen to share its findings with them.

Click here to watch the full interview.