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Airbus Is Developing An Autonomous Air Taxi For Big Cities

Credit: Geo Beats
Published on October 30, 2016 - Duration: 01:16s

Airbus Is Developing An Autonomous Air Taxi For Big Cities

Airbus’s advanced concepts division is currently developing an autonomous air taxi under the project name Vahana in order to help alleviate time and money wasted in heavy traffic in 'megacities.'

Airbus is hoping to improve travel in congested cities by launching the equivalent of an autonomous air taxi.

  The project, called Vahana, is being developed by the European company’s advanced concepts group, A3.  As the division’s CEO states in a piece he posted on Medium, “The aircraft we’re building doesn’t need a runway, is self-piloted, and can automatically detect and avoid obstacles and other aircraft.

Designed to carry a single passenger or cargo, we’re aiming to make it the first certified passenger aircraft without a pilot.”  Despite the seemingly ambitious plans, one of the engineers is quoted in an Airbus magazine article as saying, “Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there.”  However, he does acknowledge that one of their technological challenges is developing a sense-and-avoid system for the aircraft.  The project's overall goal is to help save time and money wasted by severe traffic in megacities of around 10 million or more people.  According to the Medium piece, the A3 team expects to have “a full-size prototype before the end of 2017, and to have a productizable demonstrator by 2020.”  

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