Will flying taxies save us from rush hour?
Airbus has carried out the first test flight of its flying taxi that is to prevent traffic jams during rush hours and stop at the top of city skyscrapers from 2020.
In a few years, you can fly across the city to arrive very quickly at your destination. That is the promise made by Airbus and its Vahana flying taxi.
Airbus introduced the plans in 2016, and now, the company’s developers have carried out the first prototype test flight. The flight lasted 53 seconds and took place at an altitude of 5 m.
So, Airbus has become a vital player in the race to market a flying taxi first. Earlier this year, a company called Kitty Hawk carried out a test flight of its Cora project, and both Boeing and Uber have projects in the pipeline.
Vahana seats one passenger, is electrically powered, and autonomous. Eight rotors lift and land the plane vertically, and during horizontal flight, the rotors tilt to produce propulsion. A computer calculates the route and makes corrections for obstacles such as birds and other air taxies, ensuring that the craft reaches its destination fast and safely. In the event of an accident, a parachute will unfold, carrying the passenger safely to the ground.
According to the developers, a breakthrough as regards batteries and lightweight materials has made the dream come true. Batteries have become lighter, stronger, and more reliable. Moreover, composites manufacturing has become cheaper. The test version of Vahana weighs 745 kg and has a wing span of 6.2 m.
The first test flight of the Vahana flying taxi lasted less than a minute and was carried out 5 m above the ground.