Airbus succesfully tests self-flying taxi
Airbus has successfully conducted the first test flights of the Vahana, an electric, pilotless flying vehicle that it hopes will be able to ferry people around cities, the company announced on 2 February.
The test flight conducted on 31 January at a test range in the US state of Oregon lasted just under one minute, with the aircraft lifting up five metres from the ground and landing without control from a pilot.
Propelled by eight rotors that allow it to take off and land vertically, Vahana completed a second test flight on 1 February, and additional testing is slated including forward flight.
The aircraft, which Airbus has been developing for less than two years, is designed to carry one passenger and fly autonomously.
Airbus said: ‘Vahana aims to democratise personal flight and answer the growing need for urban mobility by leveraging the latest technologies in electric propulsion, energy storage, and machine vision.’
Autonomous driving technology has made considerable progress in recent years with high-tech firms and established automakers putting test vehicles on the roads, while a handful of inventors and start-ups have developed flying cars.