Airbus recently moved the aircraft from the company’s headquarters to a new home in Pendleton, OR. This (apparently) is the future of taxis (Photo from Airbus)
If you’ve ever thought those flying taxis from The Fifth Element were cool, you may be interested in Airbus’ latest project. The company’s Vahana project is their attempt to build a self- flying taxi network. While there’s still a lot of work the company needs to do before this becomes a reality, they recently hit a major milestone that marks great progress. Airbus is now ready to test its flying car since it moved the car from the company’s headquarters to a dedicated hangar in Pendleton, OR.
The task of moving an entire car sounds daunting, but the team reveals in a blog post it was a relatively simple process. They disassembled the entire aircraft and loaded it into a truck. When the truck arrived in Pendleton, the aircraft was reassembled and prepared to take flight for its first test. The entire process took less than a day; the aircraft is designed to be taken apart and put back together quickly. From there, the team installed the high voltage power system and motors that will give the Vahana flight.
The aircraft they’re working on looks nothing like a car. Instead, it looks like a small futuristic plane, like something you’d see from a sci-fi movie. Its liftoff is similar to a helicopter, but it flies like a regular plane. This is ideal for short trips for about two people. And while there will be a pilot of sorts in the aircraft, the Vahana will rely on a computer to stabilize the flight. So the aircrafts won’t be fully autonomous, but it’s something the company is working on.
The idea is to have passengers hop on the aircraft from someplace like an airport and be flown to their destination for about as much as a regular taxi costs. In order to keep the costs low, you’ll have to share a ride with other people, so that’s something to keep in mind. Any luggage you may have will be delivered by another service. And to make sure hackers can’t get into the system, the company is making sure to have tight security with a service they call zenCyber.
As if that wasn’t enough, Airbus is also working on a drone delivery service. Similar to Amazon’s drone service, the vehicles fly around with the cargo in “aerial corridors” and drop off the goods and send delivery notifications to the customer. They hope that this project “increases acceptance for passenger flight testing, thus giving a boost to urban air vehicle projects.”
You gotta admit, flying taxis sound pretty cool, but what are the benefits? Maybe it’s supposed to be faster than your average taxi. And even though it’s something we’ve all dreamed about since The Jetsons, a good amount of people still won’t be so eager to do more flying in the skies. Hopefully, Vanhana’s tests will be successful, and we’ll start seeing these aircrafts zipping through the air. Now, if only someone can start working on those long-promised hover cars.
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