Airbus is making progress on its new electric-powered vertical take-off and touchdown plane — colloquially (and incorrectly) generally known as a “flying automobile.” The European aerospace large posted a sequence of pictures right now from its Vahana undertaking, displaying its staff engaged on a pair of single-seat, tilt-rotor automobiles with a paint job that might make a Stormtrooper envious.
Airbus has stated it desires to construct a fleet of electrical, autonomous, multirotor VTOL plane that can be utilized to fly from rooftop to rooftop in dense cities the place site visitors is commonly at a standstill. The project launched in early 2016 as one of many first pursuits of A³ (pronounced A-cubed), its Silicon Valley subsidiary. (Vahana is a Sanskrit phrase that refers back to the car or mount of a god.) Since then, the corporate has reported common updates, together with a concept video of the consumer expertise.
In its publish, the corporate says full-scale demonstrator is at the moment below manufacturing, with the objective of chickening out by the tip of the yr. The prototype was not too long ago moved from California to a brand new flight take a look at heart in Pendleton, Oregon, the place it can conduct its first demonstration. A³ has stated it plans to have a production-ready model by 2020.
Airbus, which competes with the US-based Boeing, is finest identified for big jetliners just like the double-decker A380. Nonetheless, the flying automobile undertaking exhibits that the Toulouse, France-based firm shouldn’t be above dabbling in some high-concept, and maybe unrealistic, aviation concepts.
Vahana is just the newest try to realize the long-held need for private flight. A minimum of 19 firms are creating flying automobile plans, together with legacy producers like Boeing and Airbus, and small startups like Kitty Hawk, owned by Google founder Larry Web page. Uber not too long ago introduced it will be working with NASA to comprehend its objective of testing an aerial taxi service in 2020.
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