Over 70 years ago the concept of flying cars has been teased, great men such as Henry Ford made a statement: “Mark my word: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.” Although, the promise of airborne automobiles continues to make headlines, much hasn’t been seen of them. Airbus is working towards making this innovation a reality.
This week the firm announced its innovation branch, A3, will lead the Vahana project, which will develop autonomous flying vehicles that could shuttle passengers and cargo from one location to the other for the cost of a taxi ride.
According to Airbus, earth’s population is still growing and quite a number of people are moving to urban areas. By 2030, up to 60% of the world’s population will live in cities, and new residents will make traffic even more congested unless something is done about it. The company didn’t release a detailed image of the upcoming vehicle, except for the featured image seen above, which was made by an artist.
“In as little as ten years, we could have products on the market that revolutionize urban travel for millions of people,” A3 project executive Rodin Layoff said in a press release. “Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors, and avionics are most of the way there.”
Airbus wants individuals to travel, not through traffic, but over traffic, the company hopes to to schedule prototype test flights for the end of 2017.
“I’m no big fan of Star Wars, but it’s not crazy to imagine that one day our big cities will have flying cars making their way along roads in the sky,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders said. “In a not too distant future, we’ll use our smartphones to book a fully automated flying taxi that will land outside our front door — without any pilot.”
Airbus is a division of the multinational Airbus Group SEthat manufactures civil aircraft. It is based in Blagnac, France, a suburb of Toulouse, with production and manufacturing facilities mainly in France, Germany, Spain, China, United Kingdom and the United States. Airbus began as a consortium of aerospace manufacturers, Airbus Industrie. Consolidation of European defence and aerospace companies in 1999 and 2000 allowed the establishment of a simplified joint-stock company in 2001, owned by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) (80%) and BAE Systems (20%). After a protracted sales process BAE sold its shareholding to EADS on 13 October 2006.
The company produces and markets the first commercially viable digital fly-by-wire airliner, the Airbus A320, and the world’s largest passenger airliner, the A380…