Airbus Should Have Self-Flying Technology Vehicle Prototype This Year
Airbus CEO Tom Enders announced the company aims to roll out a prototype self-flying technology for small urban transport made for single-passenger travel by the end of this year. Airbus has been advancing its self-governing vertical take-off and landing concept through Project Vahana, an internal project designed to research viability and refine a model for urban air transport. Enders told the DLD tech conference in Munich that Airbus is taking the project “very seriously.” Airborne’s transit for goods and individual passengers would be highly beneficial for alleviating urban congestion, and redefining how urban planners think about city designs.
Vahana plans to have a workable production urban aircraft for short trips ready by 2021, and so actual model tests by the end of 2017. The company previously said it was wishing to field a full-scale model sometime in 2017. It seems like Enders is still dedicated to keeping his company to that deadline. The self-flying vehicle will most likely use a 4 rotor design with variable positioning possible to aid with vertical take off, and then shift to push the vehicle forward in the air. The architecture process is taking into account what’s most economical, given requirements like an electric motor, which Airbus is focusing on so that a fleet of the vehicles will not have a worse impact on the environment than ground-based transportation in terms of adding to air pollution.
Flying cars might seem outrageous but helicopter-creator Airbus thinks that they would be ignoring the category at their peril, given the advance of technology that can help make it possible. If Airbus can pull off the model, the biggest hurdle might be regulation. Transporting people by drone is still a big legal concern in metropolitan areas. It will be difficult to prove its safety to municipal regulators.