Science fiction is fast becoming science fact.
We all can remember scenes from a number of movies that show the sky full of personal transport, whizzing along like it’s the most natural thing in the world, just as highways full of cars now.
But that can’t happen in reality. Can it? Maybe in another 50 years?
Airbus are aiming to change all of that. And not in ten years’ time, or even in five – they’ve said their first test of a self-piloting ‘CityAirbus’ vehicle called ‘Vahana’ will happen in 2017.
Airbus formed ‘Urban Air Mobility’ last year and they are working with A^3 – the company’s advanced projects and partnerships to realize the dream.
The main part of the project is centering on VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) technology; that is the key part to making personal air transportation a reality.
But they aren’t the only ones; Google founder Larry Page has also invested in two flying car start-ups and UBER are also known to be looking at VTOL technology for their next ‘big thing’.
Airbus is the world’s largest producer of commercial helicopters, along with their regular business of commercial passenger jets, they intend to take that giant leap forward into the next generation of personal transport; our highways and cities are clogged with vehicles, in many major cities around the world, the average speed of traffic is Gone are the days of going underground, we now have the technology available to go upwards, or at least considering the options for doing so.
Of course, there have been attempts in the past for a similar product, but they’ve all just fizzled out to nothing in most cases, this is partly due to lack of technology and that in most cases, the ‘flying car’ has been more car based rather than flying based. This means that to get airborne, you need a runway, you then travel very slowly to your destination and then of course, you need to find somewhere to land.
A helicopter solves the problem (or the main part) of taking off and landing, but then where do you stash the massive rotors needed to give you the lift?
All of the vehicles so far have been a compromise, whereas what Airbus are aiming for is to create a purpose built machine, neither car nor plane.