Airbus will test its electric ‘flying car’ by the end of 2017

access_time2017-11-14 13:27:09

Airbus is making progress on its new electric-powered vertical take-off and landing aircraft — colloquially (and incorrectly ) known as a “flying car.” The European aerospace giant posted a series of photos today from its Vahana project, showing its team working on a pair of single-seat, tilt-rotor vehicles with a paint job that would make a Stormtrooper envious.

Airbus has said it wants to build a fleet of electric, autonomous, multirotor VTOL aircraft that can be used to fly from rooftop to rooftop in dense cities where traffic is often at a standstill. The project launched in early 2016  as one of the first pursuits of   (pronounced A-cubed), its Silicon Valley subsidiary. (Vahana is a Sanskrit word that refers to the vehicle or mount of a god.) Since then, the company has reported regular updates, including a concept video  of the user experience.

In its post, the company says that a full-scale demonstrator is currently under production, with the goal of taking flight by the end of the year. The prototype was recently moved from California to a new flight test center in Pendleton, Oregon, where it will conduct its first demonstration. A³ has said it plans to have a production-ready version by 2020.

Airbus, which competes with the US-based Boeing, is best known for large jetliners like the double-decker A380. However, the flying car project shows that the Toulouse, France-based company is not above dabbling in some high-concept, and perhaps unrealistic, aviation ideas.

Vahana is only the latest attempt to achieve the long-held desire for personal flight. At least 19 companies are developing flying car plans, including legacy manufacturers like Boeing  and Airbus , and small startups like Kitty Hawk , owned by Google founder Larry Page. Uber recently announced it would be working with NASA  to realize its goal of testing an aerial taxi service in 2020.



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